|Questions and Answers
Want to know more? Read the questions and responses below from Detective Rory Forrestal.
Q: What can I do if someone is cyberbullying me online?
- 12th Grade Student
Broad question and somewhat difficult to answer without knowing exactly whatís going on. Cyberbullying runs the full range from minor name calling to all out threats of violence. This year weíve seen incidents that started as cyberbullying turn into acts of physical violence and in some very sad cases caused the victims to harm themselves. In many of my previous replies, I've highlighted the most common solutions, but because of some of the horrible things that happened this year, there's a new one I'd like to encourage. Please tell someone! Tell a parent, tell a teacher, confide in a friend, but please don't go it alone. If you're a friend of a cyberbullying victim support, don't abandon, your friend. It will only make them feel more isolated and if it's real serious you may have to reach out for help for them.
Hope that helps and stay safe out there!
Q: Can you be arrested for downloading 150 songs to a cd in one day?
- 8th Grade Student
Q: Can you get arrested for watching pirated videos?
- Carl, 7th Grade Student
Q: What are some possible consequences of watching movies illegally online?
- 6th Grade Student
All of your questions were about the same subject, downloading or watching copyrighted songs or movies. And yes itís against the law - any amount of downloads or just watching. More likely than arrest is that the music or movie industry takes legal action against your parents which can be very expensive. Besides itís just not right.
Stay Safe out there!!!!
Q: Can you go to jail if your mother's sister's aunt's grandmother's stepdaughter's son's uncle's cousin's husband's nephew's cousin's brother did a crime and you heard a rumor and you think it is true and when the police come to question you, you just say no and then when they do a lie detector test they find out that you were lying and they had their suspicions. Would they put you in jail?
- 7th Grade Student
Stay Safe out there!!!!
Q: Who do you talk to when you are in trouble?
- Jenise, 7th Grade Student
Q: What do I do if some boy at school is talking about me behind my back?
- 7th Grade Student
Really depends what the trouble is when you choose who to talk to. If it's not serious a friend can make you feel better. If itís serious, tell your parents so they can help you. If, for whatever reason, you canít confide in a parent, a teacher or the guidance office at your school is a great starting place.
About the boy talking behind your back, not much you can do. Try not to respond to a cyber bully or any bully in general, thatís what they want, a reaction.
Stay Safe out there!!!!
Q: Is it illegal to ding-dong-ditch or tee-pee someone's house? Can you get in trouble?
- Sarah, 7th Grade Student
Q: Can you go to jail for stealing?
- 6th Grade Student
Yes, you can go to jail for stealing or doing things to people's houses, both are against the law and besides it's just not right!
Stay Safe out there!
Q: I have been a bystander for about some time now. I just don't want to betray my friends. They've been bullying some in the school. What should I do?
- Antonika, 6th Grade Student
You're right, it's hard to tell friends they're wrong and I can see you don't like the fact that they're bullying someone. You should do the right thing and get them to stop. If it was you, you would want the same thing to happen.
Q: Can you get arrested for copying music your not supposed to?
- 4th Grade Student
Yes people can be arrested for copying music they're not supposed to under copyright laws but the reality is children rarely are arrested for something like this. But what can happen is music companies might sue your parents civilly for damages and that could cost them a lot of money.
Take care, Happy Holidays and Stay Safe out there!!!!
Q: What was the most exciting crime you have done?
- Justin, 3rd Grade Student
A: Hi Justin,
The most exciting, or I guess a better word rewarding, crimes we solve in the Computer Crimes Unit is when we take a child out of harm's way! When I solve a case like that I keep a picture of the child on my desk to remind me what all the hard work is about!!!!
Take care, Happy Holidays and Stay Safe out there.
Q: I was wondering in the park and I saw what some one bullying. What should I do?
- Nixziara, 3rd Grade Student
A: Hi Nixziara,
Little hard to answer because I would need more information to understand the entire situation. If you don't know the people involved it's best to stay out of it and report what you saw to a teacher or a parent. Getting involved could make things worse and you could get hurt. If you know the person who was bullied encourage them to tell their parents or a teacher. Most importantly be there for them as a friend!
Take care, Happy Holidays and Stay Safe out there!!!!
Q: What are some possible consequences of watching movies illegally online?
- Billy Joe, 6th Grade Student
A: Hi Billy Joe,
Thatís complicated and there are all sorts of different opinions in my office. One says the person letting you to watch the movie on their web site is in violation of the Copyright laws. Some say youíre in violation just by watching it. Here in the Computer Crimes Section we donít get involved in Copyright violations only because were so busy investigating crimes against children. Hereís another way to think of it. Supposed you were very talented and you worked very, very hard for a long time to create something really, really special. You put your heart, soul and all you money into it and it shows because itís something really special and everyone wants it. Now itís time to get paid for all the hard work and youíre looking forward to paying back all the people that helped you. But someone decides ďhey I have a copy so Iíll just give it awayĒ and they send it to everyone free without you permission. Doesnít seem fair right? Kind of the same thing happens when you download music or a movie for free!
Stay Safe out there.
Q: There's this kid in school that keeps making fun of me and calling me a terrorist, I was thinking of beating him up but, I don't want to get suspended.
- 8th Grader from Long Island
You've already done a very wise thing and asked for advice rather then act on the urge to get into a fight. I know itís hard but violence is never a good solution and youíre absolutely right youíre probably the one that will get in trouble! It you feel itís that bad probably time to tell someone and have them intervene for you. Bullying, no matter how itís done, on the computer, in a text message or in person is a tough problem. On the computer we recommend that you donít respond and block the person. Little harder to do when the bullying is in person and if ignoring the person doesnít work time to get a teacher or parent involved.
Again great job so far!!! Be wise and stay safe out there!!!!!!
Q: I'm being cyber bullied and harassed by a bunch of girls who used to be my best friends. The leader of the group was my best friend in the whole world. Her dad had been arrested and CPS wouldn't let her keep her children unless a responsible adult housed at least one of them. So we took her in. We housed her for a week. She ate all her food, and totally trashed my room (that was an accident but still!) Then a few months later, We get into this HUGE fight because of a stupid party for a girl that nobody likes anyways. I was the only one who wasn't invited.
Immediately after the party, they didn't want to be my friend anymore. Then my mom and I started to fight back. This has been going on for a YEAR now. Now they have been calling my house phone and hanging up, and calling my cell phone and leaving nasty voice mails. I got my number changed, but they are still calling my house number. And I just recently checked my youtube account, and they found out that it was mine!!
I was friends with this girl's friend and that girl's friend, told this girl my youtube and that I didn't want anyone to be friends with that girl and to be friends with me! So now they're harassing me on my online accounts too. So I just signed off and did NOT check it again... Can you help me please??? - 7th Grader from Long Island
A: Sorry it took so long to get back to you- I was away at Project Safe Childhood training. I had to read this a few times to fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation and I think the most telling line is "Then my mom and I started to fight back". My guess is that everyone involved has been sending the "other side" inappropriate communications which just continues the endless cycle of retribution. Recently a parent from the Midwest got involved in a cyber bullying incident that caused a teenager to commit suicide. That mom is being prosecuted and could go to jail for a very long time. No matter who started the cyber bullying the best way to end it is STOP RESPONDING. If you continue to receive hang up phone calls at your house or cell phone and you know who made them your mother needs to speak with the parents of those children and put a stop to that behavior. If it doesn't stop you need to contact the police. The key word here for all parties is STOP!
Stay safe out there!!!!!!!!
Q: When you are on the Internet, how do we know if websites are safe or not?
- 4th Grader from Long Island
A: Great question and not easy to answer. The best advice, especially at
your age, is to have Mom or Dad check it out first. Most of the larger,
well known web sites are relatively safe and your Mom or Dad should be
able to make sure with a little bit of research. Some of the new and
smaller sites are not so safe and that's why its important to do a
little research first. There are even some sites set up to look like the
real thing but actually take you another web site where they try to
trick you into revealing your password and user name.
So if you have any doubts at all have Mom or Dad take a look first!!!!!!!
Q: My daughter received a letter from an address I googled and found out is the Madison Cnty Detention Center in Richmond KY., I need to nip this in the bud. Right now. Taking away her computer and myspace has not helped where she originally was contacted by him OR vise-versa. Can you advise me what to do? - 12th Grader Parent from Long Island
A: That's a tough one and without all the facts it's hard to say what's best. I noticed the grade was 12th and that's a tricky age and year. It's much harder to realistically control a 17 or 18 year old's behavior online or off and more difficult is what happens after they are 18! More questions; how old is he and at what age did they meet and how - computer, Myspace. Apparently he knew her address well enough to write her or they made arrangements before he went to jail.
Over the last few years it seems to me that girls-15-18 years old are more susceptible to I guess what I call the "online older boy friend syndrome". (No you won't find that in a book anywhere I promise). Socially the girls are more mature then the boys they go to school with so they socialize on line and invariably meet an older early twenties male. This guy seems more mature and makes her feel good about herself, says all the right things, tells her she pretty. Some times there's a self esteem issue in play, sometimes its plain rebellion. Truth is the early 20's male is socially regressed, he can't relate to girls his own age so he backs up in age until it works! Their maturity is closer to 15-18 than their true age. Sad truth is there are tons of these guys out there and we lock them up on a regular basis when the behavior turns inappropriate.
If he's a much older guy or if inappropriate behavior of any kind; planned meetings, discussed sex, exchanged inappropriate pictures of any kind, you need to notify law enforcement immediately! A letter to the Prison Warden is also an option. It will stop the immediate behavior but the problem may persist. You need to find a way to convince your daughter that these guys are socially regressed. That there is no reason for a 20+ year old to be courting a high school student from a distance unless he's got problems!
Good luck and stay safe out there!!!!!!!!!!
Q: Is your job fun and is your job scary to have as a job? Also does your wife have the same job as you? - 7th Grader from Long Island
A: Thanks for the great question and believe it or not my job is a lot of fun. I far as I'm concerned I have the best job in the world, catching bad guys and keeping kids safe. Doing online undercover work requires a lot of creativity and when you catch a real bad guy it very rewarding! It's a little bit like acting because I have to make the bad guy believe he's really talking to a 13 year old boy or girl! I think all police officers get a little scared sometimes when doing search warrants or making arrests. The police department trains us well and being a little scared helps keep us focused and alert. And no my wife isn't a Police Officer but she has another great job, she's a nurse and runs a hospital emergency room, another great job that help people. Stay safe out there!!
Q: Do adults get cyberbuilled? - 4th Grader from New York City
A: Great question and yes adults do get cyber bullied. And believe it or not adults do very silly things in emails and chats and sadly sometimes get arrested! Any time, no matter what the age, someone threatens harm to another in chat, email or some other form of Internet communication it can be against the law. So it's important for everyone to be careful about what they say especially when angry or involved in an argument. Its always best to pause, take a deep breath, and reread what you wrote before you hit the send button.
Be safe out there!!!!
Q: What do you do if you are cyberbullied? - 6th Grader from New York City
A: We'll a lot depends on what happened so lets go over the basics. The best way to stop a cyberbully dead in his or her tracks is not o respond and block the person so they can't send you any more messages. It's always best not to accept messages, chat, email or phone text messages from people you don't know! If you only accept messages from people that you really know, that you have met in person, and block everyone else you'll be a lot safer and it stops cyberbullying messages before they happen. If it's a serious threat, one that contains a threat to physically harm you or another or maybe even a threat to your school you should print and save the message and tell your mom or dad what happened immediately! Those types of threats can be very serious and should be looked into.
Hope that helps and stay safe out there!
Q: Have there been any injurys in your investagation? or stalking - Shawn, 5th Grader from New Jersey
A: Hi Shawn. We've been very lucky that no one has been physically injured by a online pedophile here in Suffolk County but it's come dangerously close. A few years back we had a girl who met someone on line and he talked her into running away with him. What she didn't know is that he had been arrested before and was a documented sexual offender. When she told him she changed her mind and wanted to go home he wouldn't let her and actually threw her cell phone in a lake. We eventually tracked them down in Mexico and got the girl back safely but that was very, very close.
Luckily Internet stalking is rare but it does happen. Most of the cases we've handled here in Suffolk involved adults which highlights the need for everyone to be careful out there!
Stay safe out there!
Q: Will there eventually be laws in New York State regarding hurtful online cyberbullying or online harassment or stalking? - Susan Bernstein, from Long Island
A: Hi Ms Bernstein. Tough question. Right now I'm aware of only one bill before the New York State Legislature, A 08662, creating the crime of cyber bullying on a computer network in the first degree. The bill hasn't received Co-sponsorship and hasn't shown any movement since it's introduction. Most of the State laws pertaining to Computer Crimes and Internet Crimes Against Children were enacted in the mid 90's long before any of the current problems were envisioned. Sadly the current environment in Albany isn't conducive to any major Legislative effort. Recent Appeals Court rulings regarding the crimes we use the most for cyber bullying cases, Harassment and Aggravated Harassment, have seriously limited our ability to pursue these cases. In essence they state to charge these crimes there must be a real and creditable threat of imminent harm. Can't encourage you enough to Write Write Write those that represent you!!!!!!!
Stay safe out there!!!!!!!!!!!
Q: One of our students is pretty heavily into an on-line game called WarWorld. Is this a dangerous venue? - Teacher, from Long Island
A: We've seen only isolated criminal cases across the country but we are seeing more gaming sites with chat capabilities which dramatically increases a child's exposure. At a few of our School Presentations we been approached by children who say players have made inappropriate comments or asked for personal information. I recently handled a case involving Warcraft were a "16 year old male" developed a online relationship with a 28 year old female that resulted in the exchange of inappropriate pictures (16 year old male was really 14). I think the short answer is the environment is changing and getting more dangerous in the Gaming world and a child's activities there should be closely supervised.
Stay safe out there!
Q: Hi Detective Rory Forrestal, I have recently received a letter containing information that the IRRA has filed a lawsuit against me in federal court for copyright infringement. I've had the very popular music downloading source of Limewire. The letter informs me that I have the option of settling the dispute with a $3,000 settlement claim, but also if not settled then they will charge me $750 per song. I was one of those guys who just installed Limewire without reading the small print about shared files and illegal downloading. What should I do in this situation?
A: A timely question! While I don't think I'm the person to make a specific recommendation a little history might help you understand why the music industry is taking such severe action. Not so long ago, Napster altered the entire music universe by creating Napster, a music sharing service, where thousands of copyrighted songs were housed on Napster servers free to all for the take. The music industry eventually shuttered Napster but a new style of music and file sharing service called Peer to Peer (P2P) was born, programs that link people who want to share files together but don't necessarily house the actual music. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) shifted tactics and started going after these users in an effort to cut the loss of billions of dollars in royalties.
The cases the music industry have brought thus far normally involve users with large, well documented collections being shared with other members in the P2P network. Just this Friday a Federal Jury in found a Minnesota single parent mom guilty in a downloading case and she was fined $222,000 in one of the first cases to go all the way to trial. While I agree that the P2P web sites should make it very clear that downloading copyrighted material can leave you liable, I do know in that federal law ignorance of the law is not a defense. Think it might be wise to contact an attorney!
Stay Safe out there!
Q: Can I find out who my daughter is chatting with on the internet? - Parent, from New York City
A: Hi. There is no absolute answer and a difficult problem for parents. Most times a parent can sit with a child and go down their "Buddy List" or "Friends List" and ask who's associated with what screen name or friends name and make sure they really know the person. If you discover it's someone they don't know, met on line, or have never physically met it could be a problem. Some parents make this review a condition of allowing their child to go online. If however you see signs of problems; changed behavior, phone calls from older sounding strangers, the sudden arrival of unexplained gifts its probably time for closer inspection.
If you feel you child is hiding things from you and you feel you child is at risk there's a number of Internet safety and software monitoring programs out there that will record chats emails and your Childs Internet activities were. We don't recommend any one in particular but a little Internet research will point you in the right direction. If you discover a law has been broken such as an adult attempting to lure your minor child or sending your child inappropriate images report it to the police immediately and they will follow up with legal service to determine who the person is.
Hope that helps and stay safe out there!
Q: Hi, I wanted to know why so many teens in my age group feel the need to show explicit photos of them-selves on sites such as myspace for a wide spectrum of people to see. - Nikeeyia, 11th Grade Student from New York City
A: Hi Nikeeyia. Was hoping you could tell me! We see a lot of this and we're really not sure people realize the possible consequences. I know some experts say there's a period of time in a teen's life when they believe "they are the center of the universe" and all the world's eyes are on them and only them. Makes sense when you see the size of some of the shared photo albums on PhotoBucket and elaborate Myspace.com profiles. Sometimes it's trying to fit in and sometimes to try to be "cool".
The Internet has changed the equations a bit. Once an image is out there it's out there forever- no "Remove all Images" button. Sadly by the time some folks come to their senses it's too late.
Thanks for the great observation and stay safe out there.
Q: How would you know if you are being lured by a sexually predator? - 6th Grade Student from New York City
A: The only way you can be really sure your not talking to a sexual predator is to only chat, email or text with people you know. And when I say "know" that means people you've actually met in school, sports, family or your neighborhood. When you talk with just anybody on the Internet it could be just that, anybody. I go out on the Internet as a 13 year old girl or boy everyday to catch bad guys and bad guys sometimes say their kids to try to learn information about you. So the whole secret is ONLY CHAT WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW!
Do that and make sure you don't have information out there about yourself on Profiles services such as Myspace (when your older), AIM, Yahoo or anywhere else and you be relatively safe. Not that hard right!
Stay safe out there!!!:)
Q: I am a parent who is concerned about the myspace and related sites. My daughter is 12 and her friends have gotten my space accounts. The mothers have come together to stop this but there is one family who is not in agreement. We have concerns because their child is placing pictures of our children on her site. - Parent from Hudson Valley
A: A tuff issue and really has few good answers. First it is wise to band together as parents when it comes these issues. One of the most common cries the children raise, especially when it comes to Chat and Myspace, is "everyone else is doing it". Sadly not everyone gets it and you have a legitimate concern if someone is posting picture of your child on their profile if you object to it. That family should at least respect your wishes and not post pictures of your child. You may want to remind the family that current Myspace Terms of Service agreement states you need to be at least 14 to join the site. An email to Myspace using the links on their site may help as well.
Good luck and stay safe out there
Q: How do you catch someone who is under an assumed name on the computer? - 7th Grade Student from New York City
A: Well everything on the Internet involves numbers that you never see. Every time you go on the Internet you computer is assigned a number called an IP number or Internet Protocol Address. Kind of like a telephone number for your computer that only your computer has for it's time on the Internet. Where ever you go on the Internet web sites like AIM log or record your IP address and what time and day it was there. So when you go to a site and make up a screen name with made up information we can still get the computers IP number. From there we have tools to tell us where the computer is being used with a little more work we finally find out what house its coming from. So even though the person thinks their anonymous, they are not!!
Q: What is the harshest punnishement for a computer crime? - Chris, 6th Grade Student from Connecticut
A: Hi Chris. Well that depends on which of the many computer crimes was committed that we investigate here in the Suffolk County Police Department Computer Crimes Section. Some of the very serious crimes we investigate like using a computer to victimize children or using the computer to store inappropriate pictures of children carry very serious jail time. We've had courts sentence bad guys to up to 40 years in jail. Other crimes that school age children sometimes get involved in, such as making online threats against schools, hacking into other peoples computers, or taking inappropriate pictures of friends and posting them as a joke can actually carry sentences of 1-4 years in jail! A lot of people don't realize until they find themselves in trouble. Even some cyber bullying incidents carry potential sentences of up to a year in jail, a large fine and/or a long term of probation. Stay safe out there!
Q: What is the point of having a computer if you can't go on the website you enjoy the most? - 7th Grade Student from New Jersey
A: Well don't know that anyone is actually saying don't go to your favorite sites, just want you to do it safely and there are some very simple things you can do to be safe out there. Limit the amount of profile information you put online, don't talk with people you don't know etc... Actually all of us here in Computer Crimes think the Internet is a great thing, just have to be very careful!!! Stay safe out there.
Q: I did a lot of stuff on myspace and bearshare that wasn't right. Pictures and bad conversations with people I didn't know. My parents found out and now I am in a lot of trouble. They got rid of the accounts but cant figure out how to get rid of my AIM screen names. Can you tell me how to do this? - 8th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Well sorry all that happened to you but I'm glad your safe. Believe it or not a tricky question and I learned something while researching this. Not happy about what I found either. AIM accounts or Screen names can't be deleted. Essentially what you do is discontinue use of the screen name, block it from being found by anyone, and delete any profile information you have on AIM. After all that you uninstall the software from your computer. I think in your case it would be best if you gave your Mom and Dad your password and let them change it so you won't be tempted to use the screen name again. I cut and pasted what you need to do to prevent the screen name from being found again and deleting the Screen Name from the Software from the AIM Web page along with the link.
This from www.aim.com help files:
Deleting a screen name from the AOLģ Instant Messenger(tm) (AIMģ) software will remove the screen name from the software but not from the AIMģ service. The AIM server keeps the screen name reserved for 12 months. After 12 months time, the AIMģ system will release the screen name you deleted for re-use by AOLģ and AIMģ members.
Delete a Screen Name from the AIM Software
Deleting the screen name will delete any local preferences for the screen name. These will need to be set up again if you add the screen name back to your AIM software.
To delete a screen name from the AIM software:
And this to Prevent Others from Finding Screen names:
- Launch the AIM software but do not sign on.
- Click the ScreenName or Screen Name: drop-down menu to open it, choose the screen name you want to delete from the list, then click it.
- Tap the Delete key on your keyboard.
- Click the Yes button.
Q: Can I delete one of my old AIM screen names?
A: No, you cannot delete old AIM screen names at this time. However, you can prevent other users from finding one of your screen names by performing the following steps:
Windows: Select the My AIM menu, click My Options, and then click Edit Preferences. After the window appears, click the Controls tab, and click Nothing about me.
Macintosh: Select the Edit menu, and click Preferences. After the window appears, click the Controls tab, and click Nothing about me.
You can also and remove any information from your profile that would lead other users to find your screen name. You can access your profile from My AIM menu on Windows or the People menu on Mac OS.
Q: There was a kid in my class who found out my password for my aol instant messenger screename. He talked to all the other kids in my class and saying explicit content to them such a swearing, ual content. I keep making new screenames and the passwords are getting harder and harder but somehow he keeps getting them! I am thinking of quiting and deactivating my account but then the kids in my class would all think it was a stupid idea. Can you give me a suggestion on what to do? - Randy, 5th Grade Student from New Jersey
A: Hi Randy. Well hard to tell what's happening there. Do you know how he found out your password in the first place?? Most of the times we've seen this happen is when people give their screen names and password to other people and then they tell someone else. That's why its important to keep your password secret, even from your best friend. I think I might try making up a new screen and password and tell no on else what the password is and I'll bet the problem goes away. Stay safe out there.
Q: I know someone who thinks they know me and keeps calling my house. I told my parents and they told the police and gave them the mans phone no. The phone calls have stopped. Do you think there is anyway I can stop strangers from calling me. I don't own a myscape or youtube or anything that shows my phone no. or anything like that. PLZ HELP!!! - Sarah, 8th Grade Student from New Jersey
A: Hi Sarah. Wow that is scary! Well you did everything right, told your parents right away, called the police and its great that your limiting the information out there. Unless others have called the house since you made the report you should be in good shape. But if its still happening someone or some Company may have posed a phone number out there without you knowledge. To be safe your parents may want to put caller ID on your phone and back to that standard rule - only accept calls from people you know! Sorry that happened to you and be safe out there.
Q: There is this guy that keeps emailing me on my myspace. I don't know this person, but he seems nice. Should he be my friend? - Johnny, 6th Grade Student
A: Hi Johnny. Nope that's just what you shouldn't do. Do you really know this person? Could be anyone. One of the things bad guys do to talk to kids on the Internet is they act real nice so you will talk to them. If its someone from school or sports or the neighborhood find out who they are first otherwise they could be anyone,even me!!!!!!!
Stay safe out there!
Q: You are coming to my school this week. I wanted to ask have you or someone you know ever been cyberbullied and do you allow your children to have a screen name? - 7th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Well believe it or not I have been cyber bullied while doing undercover work on the Internet. When we go out and chat as 13 year olds and we experience a lot of the same problems you guys do. More then a couple of times I've had people threaten me because I wouldn't chat with them or accept their picture. I just ignore them, block them, and they always go away.
And to answer your other question everyone of my children chatted when they were growing up. Their college age now but they all still chat from time to time. They were great, played by the rules, and never had any problems.
Stay safe out there!
Q: I got an ipod for Christmas and I thhink I lost it..... is there a tracking system on ipods? - Josette, 7th Grade Student
A: Hi Josette. Ouch!!! No I'm sorry IPods don't have that capability yet. Some Laptop computers have programs installed so if their stolen and used on the Internet can be located. Sorry hope it turns up for you.
Stay safe out there!
Q: Hi, I have a my space page that my cousin set up for me but shes always going on my page and getting her friends to be mine. But I don't know any of them except 2. Should I change my password so my cousin can stop getting people I don't know? - Pam, 7th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Hi Pam. Ya a good example of why you never share your password with anyone, even your cousin. You have it exactly right, go in change your password so only you have access, delete the people you don't know and your good to go. Nice job!
Stay safe out there!
Q: If I have a profile with no personal information on it, should I keep it? I am 12 years old. Also, if you put a picture on the internet, why can't you take it back? - 6th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Hi. Well its not really my place to tell you if you should have one or not. That's a decision between you and your parents but its a good thing that you don't have any personal information on it! That's the smart way to go. What happens when you post a picture to the Internet is anyone is free to make a copy of it and you'll never know who has it or what their doing with it. The most important point I try to make with young folks like yourself is if you have pictures posted make sure their appropriate. Some kids think its cool to post pictures of themselves in there PJ's or bathing suits. Some day you might think "that wasn't a good idea" and you delete them. Well by then there could be dozens of copies already saved on other peoples computers and there's no way you can ever get them back!
Stay safe out there!!!!!
Q: Hi...I have a Myspace page and someone emailed me that I didn't know I just signed off. Should I trust that person? - Stephanie, 7th Grade Student from Hudson Valley
A: Hi Stephanie. Sounds like you did the smart thing and your instincts were right on target! You should never trust someone who you've never met in person who messages or emails you. It could be anybody. The who secret to Internet Safely is only Chat, Email, or add as friends people you know from school, church, sports, family or the neighborhood and block everyone else out, and use the privacy blocks.
Just delete the message, block the person using the privacy block, and GOOD JOB!!!
Stay Safe out there!
Q: I'm afraid that spyware stole or gotten some important info. I recently have gotten some wierd calls who were adults but I don't know if the two calls were mistakes. I'm also scared of identity theft, what should I do? - 6th Grade Student
A: Hi. Well there's a lot going on in this question so we'll take it one step at a time. First and most important did you tell your parents what's going on. While it's very rare that someone would break into a computer to steal identity information, just to be safe, you should tell your parents about the calls! Most Identity information is not stolen from personal computers or the Internet but from mailboxes, the garbage, or a company you've dealt with. There's also email and Website scams that trick people into giving information about themselves they shouldn't share. Best way to avoid that is don't answer emails sent from people you don't know.
So after you tell your parents here's some ideas you can share with them. To be secure on the Internet its important to make sure you computer is protected. Make sure you have a Firewall,which is a piece of equipment that stops people from being able to break into your computer and a virus protection program that checks your computer for bad programs. A good spyware program is also important such as Ad-Aware which is free! Stay Safe out there!!
Q: Is it okay to use Lime Wire? Lots of my cousins and friends use it and I wanted to know if it is legal or not. I really want to use it but I thought I should ask you first. Could you help me? - Shakeel, 7th Grade Student
A: Hi Shakeel, Well it actually it is illegal to download copyrighted music and movies from the Internet. Unfortunately there are so many people who use programs like Lime Wire, the Police can only go after the worst offenders. The Music and Movie Industries have also been suing people for Monetary damages when it finds people downloading music and movies. Its also an ethical question. For example suppose you wrote this great song and you hoped to sell it to help you pay for college but since so many people downloaded it for free no one bought it. Really not fair to you or the other artists out there who make music. There's a great case study called Fair Use - Beg, Borrow or Steal? on the Powertolearn Web Site.
Lime Wire is also a place that has a lot of very bad Computer Viruses that can destroy your hard drive and all the data on it. The Bad Guy's who try to hack into peoples computers know that kids download a lot of music from sites like Lime Wire so hide Viruses in files that look like music!
Hope this helps and Stay Safe Out There!
Q: On myspace this guy said where you live. Then he e-mail me and said where do you go to school what shod I do?
- Stephon, 4th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Hi Stephon. What happened to you shows how dangerous places like Myspace.com can be, especially for very young children. Right now you need to be at least 14 years old to be on Myspace.com but an awful lot of kids lie about their age to join because their friends are on Myspace. Anybody using Myspace.com has to use the privacy blocks to make sure the Bad Guys can't use the built in search tools to find information about you. If your 14 or 15 years old and put your real age on your account, Myspace automatically sets your profile to private so bad guys can't search for you.
One of the first rules of Internet Safety is never talk to anyone on the Internet that you don't know. If you only talk with people who you know from school, family, sports, church or the neighborhood, and block everyone else, you'll stay safe out there. Never tell someone you don't know information about yourself and you should tell someone what that persons Myspace name was incase that was an adult looking for children. That definitely could have been a bad guy!!
Stay Safe Out There!!!!
Q: How do you prevent people or scammers from taking and using your personal information? - Daniel, 8th Grade Student from Hudson Valley
A: Hi Daniel. That's an easy one. Most people think that scammers and hackers can steal your personal information right from Cyber Space. Not true. Most personal information is stolen from mail boxes or from, believe it or not, the garbage. Another trick they use is to design web sites or emails that look very very real and ask you to fill in personal information about your self or ask you for your password. Big companies like eBay and AOL will never ask you for that type of information in an email. And never post personal information on the Internet such as dates of birth, phone numbers, or screen names that the bad guys can use! Stay safe out there!
Q: I have a freing that is stuck in the middle of one of these Nigerian scams. She e-mails this person everyday from the local library and has sent him thousands of dollars in an attempt to collect a promised 63 million dollars. Now, she is even talking about marrying him!!! She is so taken in with this scam and I really need to help her. She has borrowed money from some of her friends to send to him and has even talked on the phone with this person. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. - Robert, 12th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Hi Robert
This is a very serious situation and should be reported. I'll copy this and email you separately. But it's a good question that will let everyone know how serious and dangerous a situation this is. The Nigerian 419 scam's as their called have been around since before the Internet became popular and are run by Nigerian's with the government's knowledge and unspoken encouragement. The "419" actually refers to the part of West African code that prohibits advance fee fraud. People across the world have lost billions of dollars to this scam which operates by mail, phone or email. The individuals involved in these scams are very dangerous. People who have actually traveled to Nigeria have been kidnapped, held for ransom and sometimes disappeared. Your friend needs to end any contact with these persons ASAP! The United States Secret Service is the Investigating body for these crimes since the bad guys are overseas. When it comes to any scam always remember if it sounds to good to be true, its probably to good to be true!
Stay safe out there.
Q: Is there a way to find out if a site has viruses? - 9th Grade Student from Long Island
A: No. Unfortunately there's no way to tell in advance if a web site has viruses, or spy ware that will damage your computer. That's why it's so important to have good virus protection software installed on your computer before you surf the Internet. Most large, well know web sites like AOL or the NFL check their web site's often to make sure they haven't been infected but many smaller web sites do get hacked and infected with viruses if they aren't properly protected.
Q: How do you copyright things such as song lyrics and who do you go to???? - Kirby, 10th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Hi Kirby
Well that was a great question and I learned something to! I went to US Government Web site that addresses Copyright's and learned that a Copyright is granted under United States Code (Law) "to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works." I always thought to secure a Copyright you need to go to a Lawyer but not so. There's an Application that goes with copies of your work as well an application fee which is then sent to the Library of Congress, Copyright Office. Take a look at the government link at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/ for more info.
Q: What is a copyright? - 7th Grade Student
A: Well Webopedia says its "the legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work. Abbreviated as (c) or ©"
What's up with that? In short if you were to write or make music or publish a book or anything else and hoped to make money from it or to protect it in some way you could because by virtue of the fact that you created it, you hold copyright. If someone wanted to use it they would have to get your permission. For example if someone else was going to profit in some way from something you created they would need you permission and share the profits with you. OK now when and how can that get illegal. Well suppose you bought a copyrighted CD© from a store and made copies which you sold to your friends, that's illegal. Downloading music from the Internet can sometimes be illegal: if you download a song to your iPod without paying for it that is illegal. If you download a few bars of a song (less than 10% and no more than 30 seconds) from the Internet for use in a school project that is OK and that is where it really gets complicated. There's a great discussion on the www.powertolearn.com about exceptions to copyright law called the "Fair Use: Beg, Borrow or Steal?," including a quick tip sheet that outlines exactly what you can and can't do. Give it a look in the Interactive Case Studies section of Internet Smarts.
Take care and stay safe out there!
Q: How come people cyberbully? - 7th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Good question. People cyberbully for the same reasons they bully in person. To feel power over the person. Back when I was a kid bully's always bullied in person and almost always picked on someone smaller. The more the reaction the better they felt. Works the same way with the Internet except now the person can do it anonymously. Best way to make them go away is ignore them. Take the power right out of their hands!
Q: Do u track criminals through the web? - 7th Grade Student from Long Island
A: Sure do. We've solved all kinds of crimes using the Internet. Besides the types of cases you see on TV, the online pedophile cases, we've solved Missing Children's cases, helped track down wanted criminals, people stealing or selling stolen items on sites like eBay. One really good detective, Det. Jennifer Roberts even helped prevent a suicide by tracing a person through the Internet. Because of the way the Internet is constructed its actually easier to trace some crimes and remember you're never anonymous out there.
Take care and stay safe out there!
Q: If a guy calls me names and things what do I do and what made you intersted policemen? - Madelyn
, 5th Grade Student, from New York City
A: Hi Madelyn, things like that have been happening to a lot of you guys and girls out there over the summer. The best way to handle a Cyber Bully - just don't respond and block his screen name on your chat program. If it happens again it's probably best to tell you parents what's going on and they can help you report the screen name to whoever is hosting the chat program.
About your other question believe it or not I never started out to be a policeman. I was in the military and a friend of mine who is a policeman (he flies police helicopters) told me about the job and it sounded interesting and a way to help people. I thought I would try it for a year and I liked it so much here I am 21 years later. While I was in the military I learned about computers so when kids started getting hurt on the Internet the Police Department asked me to get involved. Its the best job in the world!!!!!!!
Hope this helps and stay safe out there!!!!
Q: I was on myspace and this guy asked me how old I was. I answerd I'm not telling you, then he starts cursing at me and calling me all these discusting names. What should I do? - Erich, 5th Grade Student, from Long Island
A: Hi Erich. Not sure how he got your name, or if you know who he is, but the best way to avoid people like that is only to chat with people you know. If you actually know them from school or the neighborhood, or sports, it's much less likely that they will act like that since you know who they are. That works against cyberpredators and cyberbullies. Now that it's happened the secret to making a cyberbully go away is don't respond and use the "Block User" function built into Myspace.
Remember only chat with people you know and you'll stay safer out there!!
Q: Is there a way to find only scamfree web sites. Somebody told me I can get insurance for buying things over the internet. - Maritza, 7th Grade Student, from New York City
A: Hi Maritza, Not sure there's a way to find 100% scam free web sites for shopping but if your careful most of the bigger sites are fairly safe. Think at your age its best that you have Mom or Dad check out the sites and make sure there OK.
Some of the auction sites like eBay offer limited insurance but its only pennies on the dollar so you have to be very very careful on these sites. Make sure you only buy or sell to people with good histories and if a deal sounds to good to be true-its to good to be true!!!!!!!!!
Take care and be safe out there
Q: There is a kid I don't know what his name is and his screen name is pbplayer48 and he cursed me out when I talk to him so I deleted him off my buddy list. Can you find out his name? Thanks - Vinny, 4th Grade Student, from Long Island
A: Hi Vinny. Well what the person using pbplayer48 did was absolutely wrong but not illegal so I can't find out his real name. Police rules say we need a crime to be committed to get information from AOL. But deleting him from your buddy list and not responding was a good move. The best way to stop cyberbullying or a cyber argument is just not respond. Also to stay safe it's a good thing not to add anyone to your buddy list or chat with anyone you really don't know. If you only chat with kids you know from school, sports, and family you'll stay safe and there will be less cyber bullying!!!!!!!!!:)
Take care and stay safe out there
Q: Why do people make an imposter of themselves to get children away from their parents to either: murder or have sexual harrase with people? - James, 4th Grade Student, from Connecticut
A: Hi James. Well the bad guys out there hide behind made up personalities and screen names so kids won't know who they really are. That way they can go online where there are lots of kids every night and try to trick them into talking with them and maybe even meeting with them. But I know you guys are smarter than that and would never talk to someone when you don't know who they are! And never, never, ever meet!!
Stay safe out there!!!
Q: Should parents limit computor acccess for children to a certain amount of time each day? - 5th Grade Student, from New Jersey
A: Well, I think so because I'm not only a Detective but also a parent. Like it is with everything too much of anything isn't a good thing. We've had a lot of kids get in trouble because they spend too much time online and their parents weren't paying attention to what they were doing out there. The Internet is a great thing, you just have to be careful how you use it.
Stay safe out there!!
Q: Why do people make bad things on the internet? - Emily, 3rd Grade Student, from Long Island
A: Hi Emily. Well unfortunately some people do bad things everywhere but on the Internet it seems worse. Because you don't talk to people face to face people hide behind screen names and made up information. This makes them think they can do really really bad things and no one will figure out who they are. What they don't know is we can figure out who they are and sometimes it helps us catch them. Like when I go online as a little boy or girl to catch the bad guys.
Stay safe out there !!!
Q: Do adults get cyberbullied? - Liza, 5th Grade Student, from New Jersey
A: Hi Liza. That's a great question and actually adults do get cyber bullied! You'll sometimes see it called "Cyber Stalking", sometimes "Online Harassment" but its very much the same. And sadly we handle a lot of cases where adults say things they really don't mean because their angry or jealous. Thing to remember is anytime, no matter if adult or child, someone makes a threat of violence against another person or makes them fear for their safety it can be against the law.
Adults, just like kids, need to be careful and think about the things hey say online. In the end we're all held responsible for the things we say and do.
Again a great question Liza and be careful out there!!
The responses and opinions contained herein are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily relect the views or opinions of Power to Learn or Cablevision.