FBI offers tips to avoid child predators

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2006

John Mark Karr, the fellow who has confessed to having been involved in the death of JonBenet Ramsey a decade ago returned to the United States earlier this week. The question of his guilt or innocence has yet to be decided but his confession and the media frenzy that has surrounded it has brought back to the headlines Ramsey&8217;s murder.

Karr&8217;s apparent ties to Alabama bring this story closer to home.

Much ink has been wasted, in my mind, sharing the details of what Karr ate during his plane ride back to the United States and other seemingly trivial details of a person we have only known for a few short days. While cessation of people&8217;s curiosity is sometimes difficult to accomplish, it certainly seems more important things could be said and written.

In the decade since this tragic murder occurred, our world has changed.

Certainly keeping windows and doors locked and secured is no less important that they were in 1996 but child predators have a more prevalent method of approaching our children:

the internet.

Below you will find tips provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for keeping your child safe online; my hope is that, while perhaps a bit less interesting that what Karr wore as he deplaned in California, you or someone you might share this information with might find it useful.

What Can You Do To Minimize The Chances Of An On-line Exploiter Victimizing Your Child?

-Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.

-Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.

-Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child&8217;s bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household.

-Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.

The FBI offers more tips online