Friday, December 29, 2006

S.C. orders crackdown on school bullies

this is a great way to handle cyberbullying. Schools can find ways ot handle this in their own way. Hopefully there will be funding to help them.S.C. orders crackdown on school bullies

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

check out the spying on your kids piece with Parry and Cindy Hsu on CBS.

Nickelodeon special on cybersafety features Parry and the Teenangels

Source: Nickelodeon

Nick News Explores the Perils of Living in an Online World
Monday November 27, 1:06 pm ET
Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: Online and In Danger? How to Protect Yourself in the Virtual World
Airs Sunday December 10, 8:30 P.M. ET/PT on Nickelodeon

NEW YORK, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-five million American kids have been -- or are -- online. The number is staggering, but even more startling is that, according to recent data gathered by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 71% of teens online have received personal messages from someone they don't know, 45% have been asked for personal information from a stranger; 34% have had unwanted or unsolicited exposure to inappropriate images; 20% have received a sexual solicitation over the Internet, 30% have considered meeting in person someone they met online, while 14% have actually done so. Approximately one million kids have received an aggressive sexual solicitation: someone asking to meet in person, calling on the telephone or sending snail mail, money or gifts. Yet fewer than one in five kids who have experienced any of the above, have told a parent or guardian.
(Photo: )

Source: Nickelodeon

· Linda Ellerbee, host of Nick News.
· Click Here to Download Image

Nick News with Linda Ellerbee explores the problem and looks at solutions in Online and In Danger? How to Protect Yourself in the Virtual World, airing Sunday, December 10 at 8:30 p.m. on Nickelodeon. Kids and experts such as Ernie Allen, President & CEO of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and Parry Aftab, founder of WiredSafety weigh in on social networking sites, and the ways predators try to get at kids. Cyber cops explain what they do, what "grooming" is, and how online predators are groomed themselves. We visit with The TeenAngels, 13-18 year-old volunteers trained in online privacy and security. They visit schools, and run a website, spreading the word -- from kids to kids -- about how to live, learn, and play safely online.

"For a lot of kids, the virtual world is their playground, recreation center, arcade, and mall. Going online isn't something they do, it's somewhere they are," said Ellerbee. "The goal of this show is not to scare kids offline or encourage parents to unplug computers, but to help kids better understand and use this evolving technology, and show them ways to protect themselves in the process."

Approximately 65% of all teens have visited some kind of social networking site such as MySpace, Facebook or Xanga, according to a poll. In Online and In Danger?, kids explain why they go on these sites, what types of information they're posting, and other ways they use the Internet. They also tell stories of close encounters or actual experiences with online abuse.

Nick News, celebrating its 15th year, is the longest-running kids' news show in television history, and has built its reputation on the respectful and direct way it speaks to kids about the important issues of the day. In 2005, it won the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Programming for its show, From the Holocaust to the Sudan. In 1994, the entire series, Nick News, won the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Programming. In 1998, "What Are You Staring At?" a program about kids with physical disabilities, won the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Programming. In 2002, "Faces of Hope: The Kids of Afghanistan," won the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Programming. In 2004, two Nick News Specials, "The Courage to Live: Kids, South Africa and AIDS" and "There's No Place Like Home," a special about homeless kids in America, were both nominated for the Outstanding Children's Programming Emmy. In fact, Nick News has received more than 20 Emmy nominations. Nick News, produced by Lucky Duck Productions, is also the recipient of three Peabody Awards, including a personal one given to Ellerbee for her coverage, for kids, of the President Clinton investigation; two Columbia duPont Awards; and more than a dozen Parents' Choice Awards.

Nickelodeon, in its 27th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in almost 92 million households and has been the number-one- rated basic cable network for more than eleven consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA - News, VIA.B - News).

Source: Nickelodeon

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving....what I am thankful for this year...

this year has been very different from past years, at least as far as cybersafety is concerned. This year parents are attending seminars and conferences and presentations in droves. This year schools are putting cybersafety at the top of their lists, understanding that school violence is often the result of a cyberaltercation or offline violence may move online. Kids and teens themselves are more worried about their safety and that of their loved ones, especially younger siblings.

Why is this year different?

Two things - MySpace (and similar sites) and Dateline's To Catch A Predator with Chris Hansen.

I've been doing this for ten years, and only now are all the pieces falling into place. Before parents would brush off our concerns with "Not my kid!". Now their kids are posing on myspace in their bras (or less). Before they thought that cyberpredators were few and far between. Now they have met many in the kitchen of set houses with Chris Hansen on camera.

So, how can we get things moving the right way? It's time to get info out there everyone can understand. It's time ot "Take Back the Net!"

Our new wiredmoms program will create an army of moms to help each other protect their kids and ALL kids online.

it's starting...

I wonder what I will be thankful for next year. :-)

stay safe,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The 3Gs...gangs, gambling and guns online

I tell parents to think about the 3Cs (content, contact and cost), the 4Ps (privacy, predators, porn and piracy) and now am telling them to think about the 3Gs (gangs, guns and gambling online).

Bottomline, anything that can go wrong in life can go wrong online, sometimes in a magnified way.

Everyone needs to remember what our parents taught us and grandparents taught them. There is a difference between right and wrong. And wrong can look like fun (and sometimes is if you don't consider the consequences and the hurt to others). But we need to remember that staying safer online requires our kids to use the "filter between their ears."

work on it.


Gangs online....

What used to be limited to the large inner cities has now expanded to our local neighborshoods in suburbia. Our upper middle class kids are being seduced by gangs, and at least one teen girl ran off to meet a gang member in LA.

How many parents understand this risk?

Gang divisions are now also checking the myspace and youtube profiles for gang activities. I recommend that parents address gangs with their kids. It's a risk they never dreamed they might face, but with the advent of glamourous videos professionally shot and available online and when kids are searching for gansta rap videos and finding real gans instead....the gang life might look like fun, instead of what it is.

think about it.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cracking the code of teens' IM slang | CNET

At teens can submit new acronyms and chatter lingo terms, and parents can decode them. There is more to this than just accessing your kids e-mails. You have to understand what you read :-)Cracking the code of teens' IM slang | CNET

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Texas prosecutor commits suicide - Crime & Punishment -

A man committed suicide before the police arrive with the arrest warrant. He was an assistant district attorney. This man was not the first to committ suicide when being charged with a child Internet sex crime. In the Avalanche case, many charged with trading child porn committed suicide. While NBC will never state the fact that this shows how those we never dreamed would be a predator are often the predators...and instead indicated that they had not ocmmunicated with this man (who did not show up at the house with the other predators) - it does just that.
Texas prosecutor commits suicide - Crime & Punishment -

Saturday, November 04, 2006 - Official Blog: shutting down the news feed on keep your info from being broadcast

teens helping keep others safer online...want to know how to turn off the mini-feed at facebook so your information isn't broadcast to everyone? This teen from Atlanta shared this with - Official Blog: shutting down the news feed on keep your info from being broadcast

I am the parent!

too often parents get caught up in the technology stuff and forget that it comes down to old fashioned parenting.THERECORD.COM | INSIDER | Parents must play active role in child's Internet use, expert says

my xanga blog...

my "do not disturb" button

I have been talking about wanting the social networks and web 2.0 companies to create a do not disturb button option, that would prevent anyone from being able to contact you. They couldn't poke you, ask to be your friend, etc.

It’s a basic account setting, right on your main settings page:
“Invites: Accept Invites from other Xangans - yes/no”

Here’s a quick description:

It appears that Xanga already had one. :-) - Atlanta,Georgia,11Alive,ATLANTA,News,Weather,Doppler,sports,events

The uncut interview of Parry on a recent speaking engagement in Atlanta - Atlanta,Georgia,11Alive,ATLANTA,News,Weather,Doppler,sports,events

not sure how to shut down the news feed about your facebook profile? this was written by a great teen in Atlanta. thanks!

1. Go to "My Privacy" which is the last option on the button bar on the left hand of facebook pages.

2. Scroll down until you reach "News Feed and Mini-Feed" and click on the "edit settings" link which is below it.

3. You can read about the feed and also UNCHECK selections to remove information on your mini-feed.

4. When you are finished with this, click "save changes" and you are all set!

Zango, Inc. Settles FTC Charges

Families (and businesses) are very concerned about hidden applications and files in downloads. The FTC has been on this issue for a long time and just announced the settlement of this $3 million enforcement action with Zango. Good work!Zango, Inc. Settles FTC Charges

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Facebook: Are the Chances Worth Taking?

a great paper wrtten by a talented student. Her mom works with me on helping create a safe Internet for schools in AtlantaFacebook: Are the Chances Worth Taking?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

teenangels meet the "governator" at the California's cybersafety summit

They have met many very "kewl" people in their training and devliery of teh teenangels programs, but the teens were beside themselves in being able to meet the Governor. I had ot lecture them for an hour not to say things like "I'll be back." lol

The Governor came to the summit to speak for a few mionutes and took time just to meet the teens (he didn't have time to meet with anyone else.)

He took five minutes to get the teenangels's "living strong" bracelet on his huge fist. The kids thought he was incredible (and to be honest, so did I!).

we'd love to thank everyone at the Dept. of Consumer Affiars office in California for making the summit a reality and giving us the chance to meet such wonderful people, including our favorite moive star and governor .


SuperSafeKiddo learns about cyberbullying....

Monday, October 30, 2006

from one of our teenangels on doing her first presentation on cyberbullying....I love these kids!

Dear Ms. Aftab,

At first I was extremely nervous. I read over my lines (in the role play) millions of times thinking I would freeze on stage. Though, my anxiousness subsided eventually and I was able to calm down with the help of the Teenangles support group that came along.
Walking into the school was a new experience in its self. There were tons of middle-schoolers grouped in circles around the building. Workshops were going on everywhere I turned and a significantly large presentation happening in the auditorium. The women who were heading the day’s events kept coming over to us and thanked us for coming. This made me feel important and very proud.
When our time finally arrived to present our cyberbulling slideshows the nerves were eliminated. Instead of stage fright I was filled with excitement and awe at the 900 some odd people that faced me. The first part of the PowerPoint went smoothly. The only technical difficulties we encountered came during “The Game Boy Ploy”; my part!!! Not to worry, my partner and I read through our parts clearly and enthusiastically; even better than I had imagined! I was astonished that we pulled through so well.
We received a huge applause and a big thanks from the school. The day, the presentation, the entirety of the experience was one that I am glad I was able to be a part of and one that will be hard to forget.

New Rochelle Ch.1

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

ParryAftab's Xanga Site - some of our pics

check out my new xanga blog. I'll try and cross post from blog to blog.ParryAftab's Xanga Site - some of our pics

Congratulations to AOL on selecting Jules Polonetsky as their new CPO and Sr VP Consumer Advocacy

We are happy to see Tatiana moving into a new opportunity and thrilled to see that her seat has been filled by one of our advisory board members, Jules Polonetsky. A longtime advocate for privacy and consumers, Jules has in recent years been heavily involved in working with non-profits and families on child safety issues. Here is what AOL shared about the move:

Jules Polonetsky has been promoted to Chief Privacy Officer and Senior Vice President, Consumer Advocacy, reporting to Randy Boe. Prior to joining AOL in 2002, Jules was Chief Privacy Officer at DoubleClick. He also served as the New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

In his new role, Jules will lead all activities related to AOL's privacy policies and procedures. He and his team will work to formulate and enforce standards for a wide range of consumer issues, including privacy, ad policy, accessibility, content guidelines, community practices, child safety, and general online security. This team will also launch education and communications initiatives across AOL to their commitment to consumers and privacy.

congrats Jules!

You never know who you are talking to online...that cute 14 yr old boy may not be cute, may not be 14 and may not be a boy. IM

Intro to our new new cyberbullying video...

Thursday, October 26, 2006


when kids hurt other kids online or using any interactive technological device it's called "cyberbullying."
this public service advertisement teaches kids how to avoid becoming a cyberbully and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Moms and cyberdating...

For years sexual predators have taken advantage of women they marry or date to gain access to their children to molest them. The growth of cyberdating and explosion of social networks for adults who are sharing information about their children (including pictures) have allowed predators to "shop" for the kids and young teens they want to sexually exploit.

Once they identify the kids, meeting the mother and arranging to meet her children is easy.

While many moms are careful about protecting their children from online sexual predators and themselves from cybercreeps, many more don't realize how the Internet can be easily used to give child molesters willing to pose as a lonely boyfriend access to their children.

If you ae cyberdating, be careful to protect yourself. And if you are posting information about yourself online, don't include images or descriptions of your children. At least not if you are advertising to meet someone in real life. If you are cyberdating, take it slower than real life dating. Don't bring the person home and remind your children that they come first. so they will know to trust you with information is this cyberboyfriend does things that make them feel uncomfortable.

it's a hidden risk of cyberdating and cyberrelationships.
be safe.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Communication and Education Key to Keeping Kids Safe Online - Government Technology

I am always so proud of the teenangels and they and I were all excited to hear Gina's take on their presentations at the cybersafety summit in California.Communication and Education Key to Keeping Kids Safe Online - Government Technology

Wisconsin State Journal - teenangels

Hortonville Wisconsin teenangels on PBS show.Wisconsin State Journal

Chat transcript: Internet lawyer Parry Aftab on the Mark Foley scandal on

Chat transcript: Internet lawyer Parry Aftab on the Mark Foley scandal on

thoughts form one of our NJ teenangels about her first presentation to other teens.

When I stepped foot in Howell Middle School, I basically knew I'd be
>talking a bit about things like how to keep kids like ourselves safe on
>the internet as well as how to deal with internet bullying and the
>Teenangels program. It was my first time being part of a formal
>presentation where the audience was more than just my friends and peers
>listening, so I wasn't even expecting kids to really pay attention to
>me or even care about what I had to say. I can definitely say that I
>was shocked at the high participation level of the kids when I did my
>part of the presentation and got them to guess certain statistics and
>let me know what they thought about it. The response gave me this
>remarkable sense - and made us Teenangels realize that we were making
>some sort of a positive difference! Although it was obvious that some
>kids just can't be bothered with caring about anything, I could tell
>that others were certainly affected by some of the stories we brought
>up. I would truly consider it an accomplishment if even one kid made
>changes to be safer online after listening to us speak. At the end of
>the presentation, three girls came up to us and asked us some questions
>and were even surprised to know that most of us had pages up on social
>networking websites like Myspace and Facebook. I think it made them
>realize that we weren't telling them not to do it, but to be safe while navigating them. Bringing that reality to them made them think of us more as role models, rather than teen police!
>Overall, I loved the whole experience and having the opportunity to
>share what we knew with other younger teens who will benefit from it.
>I'm really looking forward to continuing my work as a Teenangel.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Teenangels to the rescue -| Summit tackles Internet sexual predators | 10/19/2006 | Summit tackles Internet sexual predatorsLearn a bit about our incredible teens...

okay...what can we do about cybersafety?

I devote my life to helping people stay safer online and while using wireless and mobile devices. This includes helping kids, preteens and teens do the same and helping parents, siblings and grandparents keep the kids they love safer in cyberspace.

yet, the more I do, the more I have to do. Sometimes I feel like Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's apprentice trying to sweep out the raging waters.

This task requires the help and involvedment of many stakeholder groups - parents, extended families ad other caregivers; school administrators, librarians, educators and youth counselors and organizations; legislators, non-profits and governmental agencies; law enforcement, school resource officers and members of the judiciary system; the Internet, mobile technology, gaming and electronic device industries; and the kids, preteens and teens themselves.

In California, the Dept of Consumer Affairs hosted a cybersafety summit sponsored by the Governor of Califorinia. For the first time in the US all major stakeholders were brought together to share our expertise and find ways to collaborate.

It was a welcome change over the sometimes partison conferences, and events designed to promote products or programs of special interest groups.

I had just flown back from Greece where I keynoted a conference sponsored by the EU cybersafety program for Greece. For the first time, we decided to share and license our programs to another group in the field. Our Greek Teenangels program will launch this Fall. And all our educational programs, curricula and materials will be translated and adpated by the group in Greece and delivered on our joint behalf, without charge.

It has been years since we started doing this. WiredSafety is the world's largest and oldest Internet safety group, first starting its work under a prior name in 1995.
Since then, many gorups have been spawned from us and many more have adapted our materials, programs and resources (sometimes even with our permission :-)).

Standing at the podium, where we opened the first panel at the California summit, I looked out over the packed house and saw the other leaders in cybersafety. Marc Klaas, a man I admire greatly, delivered the keynote. The incredible San Francisco DA spoke, along with Chris Kelly (Facebook) and others. Yahoo's Safely team was there, with Catherine Davis, the founder of Yahooligans. So was Google, Microsoft and law enforcement groups galore.

It would have been great to have us all sit down and let us share our thoughts and find ways ot put our egoes behind us and work together. Years ago, there was no one else in the field. A few of us were all there was. I came form cyberlaw and policy, as a privacy and security lawyer. I also used the volunteer approach to get things moving from the grass-roots model. Later our teenangels program became the first (and still only) expert youth training program.

Larry Magid worked from the technology perspective. He used to be a columnist with the LA Times on technology and brought that expertise to the field. He later collaborated with NCMEC and later Anne Collier.

Donna Rice Hughes came at this from the anti-porn perspective, representing the more conservative religious right perspectives. She later branched out into other issues. (Donna wasn't at the event.)

Debbie Mahoney founded the first moms program, soc-um (safeguarding our kids - united mothers), against pedophiles online long before any of us thought about cybersafety, four years before the web was launched.

Now, new groups and experts and wanna-be experts join our ranks daily.

I think it's time to look at what we are doing and find a way to work together. It's time we all join forces and put the kids first. It's time we compete less.

I'm willing. Is anyone else?
it's time...
Parry - Family First: Parents Guide To Video File Sharing

Video sharing sites and cybersafety. what does have to say? - Family First: Parents Guide To Video File Sharing

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My angel...."Jazz"

A few years ago I met one of our volunteers. She was caring, well-liked and gentle. She also made the mistake of offering to talk with me about doing more. I am famous for recruiting people for their skills and/or caring. She didn't know that at the time. I saw something special in her, never having met her in RL, judging her only on her online tone.

I tapped her ot help me build into a formidable force, empowering teens to help themselves and each other stay safer online.

I also asked her to cover for me on the John Walsh Show (since cancelled) that was honoring our teenangels. I scanned the audience for her, when I watched the show on TV. All I could see what this beautiful, well-mannered blonde with a warm and wonderful smile sitting in "Jazzangel's" seat. I didn't know who this woman was. It never occured to me that the one who had such a beautiful heart also was beautiful in a classic sense.

Rose (having since given up her screen name as one of the top three execs within has created one of the most effective and efficient teams wiredsafety has ever had, and has taken teenangels from Parry's dream to a national and international reality.

Today she had a special birthday. I won't tell you which, because you would never believe me. I want to thank her for all she has done, and for all she will do...for her vision, patience and kindness...for being my angel and the angel of all those teenangels and tweenangels now and in the future.

Happy Birthday Rose.
with love and thanks,

thoughts from teenangels....

Heard in Rye Speaker Series September 12, 2006
Reflections of Kate Coloabella and Gianna Curcio

We as Teenangels (Kate and Gianna) attended Parry Aftab’s seminar in Rye, NY. The Seminar was held for parents who wanted to know more on how to protect their children from the dangers of the Internet. The session began with Ms. Aftab speaking about the developments of Wired Safety and her many other organizations including Teenangels, Tweenangels and her upcoming Wired Moms. Parry Aftab further enlightened the parents on the programs’ policies and views on keeping the internet safe. She advised the group on how to better their child-parent communication, concerning the risks that they might face. All of the crucial points that Ms. Aftab touched on were presented in a slideshow that she created. In the time remaining, the parents had a chance to pose their individual questions for Parry to answer.
We as Teenangels found the seminar to be an interesting and enjoyable experience.
Being that this was our first, certain things came as a surprise to us.
Before the discussion, we knew of only three social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, Xanga) but, we soon discovered just how wrong we were. When Parry spoke on the subject, the list seemed to go on forever! Also, when the parents were sharing their own experiences with their children on the Internet, we came to find that some knew a lot while others seemed clueless.
From the very beginning of the session one could tell that Parry possessed a certain ease that made her easy to talk to and understand. She was so passionate in her views that the listener could tell that she was definitely in the know. Parry was able to hold the attention of the room, keeping it fun, while discussing serious issues.
Above all, we felt great representing Teenangels worldwide! It was an honor to be recognized as we stood beside Parry Aftab in teaching parents the facts on Internet safety!!

what you can teach kids and teens in 45 minutes...

I was invited to fly out to a Marine Base in Yuma to work with the teens and kids from their local youth center on cybersafety. We interviewed te of them on camera before I did the presentation. We discussed one on one what they thoughts about cyberrisks and what they would recommend to another preteen or teen to stay safer online. One young girl thought the greatest cyberrisks were related to compauters falling on you. 45 minutes later, she was explaining that people try to trick kids into giving away information to sell them things or trick them, and that you never know who someone is online. Another girl (12 years old) thought that having a myspace if you aren't careful can cost you your life. She also thought that MySpace should keep all boys over 14 off their site.

I have been working with kids for ten years on these matters. They always impress me. My volunteers are among the most talented and expert in the world. But what a few kids can learn in 45 minutes, when someone does a fun and interactive presentation, amazed me. It works.

Want to help? Let's each promise to spend 45 minutes to keep our kids and their friends safer. I'll share with you whatever you need to do it.

Check out the video. Amazing. (I love that ten year old!!!!).

join us...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - Parent To Parent-New Web Worries For Parents opens the web up to amazing possibilities. We can (and do) run our safety videos there. It's the first way we could broadcast video in larger files. But it also has risks. Parents should read about our YouTube safety tips, and remember they apply equally to Google video and myspace video among others. You may want to look at our new 3Cs safety program, which allows families to spot risks without having to get a degree from MIT> - Parent To Parent-New Web Worries For Parents

Monday, October 09, 2006

selling term papers's a crime!

NY law provides that people who sell term papers to others are committing a crime. While the student himself might be discliplined and expelled for using a term paper written by someone else and proffering it as their own, this law is designed to reach the seller.

Recently I was asked if the law would apply to the sale of term papers online. It should. NY (and other states) have what is called a "long arm statute") that permits the state to reach beyod its borders, online and offline, to apply its laws when the person has reason to know that NY state laws might apply to them. While there is a long list of cases and academic writings on this, the short answer is that if the person knows they are dealing with NY residents, is advertising to NY residents or has some kind of contact in NY, the laws could apply.

Several other states have similar laws.

Sale of term papers - NY law:

Title I, Article 5, Section 213-b of the New York State Education Law provides in pertinent part that: "No person shall, for financial consideration, or the promise of financial consideration, prepare, offer to prepare, cause to be prepared, sell or offer for sale to any person any written material which the seller knows, is informed, or has reason to believe is intended for submission as a dissertation, thesis, term paper, essay, report, or other written assignment by a student in a university, college, academy, school, or other educational institution to such institution or to a course, seminar, or degree program held by such institution."

selling term papers's a crime!

NY law provides that people who sell term papers to others are committing a crime. While the student himself might be discliplined and expelled for using a term paper written by someone else and proffering it as their own, this law is designed to reach the seller.

Recently I was asked if the law would apply to the sale of term papers online. It should. NY (and other states) have what is called a "long arm statute") that permits the state to reach beyod its borders, online and offline, to apply its laws when the person has reason to know that NY state laws might apply to them. While there is a long list of cases and academic writings on this, the short answer is that if the person knows they are dealing with NY residents, is advertising to NY residents or has some kind of contact in NY, the laws could apply.

Several other states have similar laws.

Sale of term papers - NY law:

Title I, Article 5, Section 213-b of the New York State Education Law provides in pertinent part that: "No person shall, for financial consideration, or the promise of financial consideration, prepare, offer to prepare, cause to be prepared, sell or offer for sale to any person any written material which the seller knows, is informed, or has reason to believe is intended for submission as a dissertation, thesis, term paper, essay, report, or other written assignment by a student in a university, college, academy, school, or other educational institution to such institution or to a course, seminar, or degree program held by such institution."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Behind every picture there's pain....

child porn is more than a picture. it's a picture of a crime being committed.
we have to stop it. we have to stop talking. we have to do something.
post this image on your site, blog or profile. If enough people get angry, we can make some changes.

want to help?
I need more help. the problem is getting worse.
it's time.

The horrors of being a teen online....

I just received a report from a young teen who attends a school where I had done a cybersafety presentation last Spring. She forwarded a link to a child pornography website that had been sent to her, showing young chldren engaged in sexual activities with adults and sometimes other children. She asked me to have it taken down and find the people behind the site.

What do I tell this young teen? Things like this are not what anyone, especially a young teen, should have to see. And the molestation being portrayed is something no child should have to endure.

It's one thing for me to testify before Congress on child pornography in cyberspace. But these are more than just academic issues to be discussed before television cameras. I recently returned from a European Union cybersafety summit in Greece where I was the keyote speaker. I told the story about how I got into all of this. (I saw a picture of a 3-1/2 yr old being raped online. I responded by vomiting, crying and shutting down my law firm to fight against these kinds of things. Thousands joined me in the fight.) Many approached me telling me that it was a moving but depressing beginning to a summit.

A few hours later we learned that the first Greek bust of someone possessing and perhaps trafficking in child porn had just occurred. An infant was molested in a manner I cannot describe. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore and then stared at my computer screen for hours. Why is the problem getting worse? (It is.)

And why do our teens and preteens have to be exposed to adults asking them for their bra size or instructing them on how to engage in real or virtual sex with them?

Children are being hurt every single day. And our teens are subjected to e-mails with links to things we can't imagine in our worse nightmares.

and then I think about Congressmen who have dedicated their time in Congress purportedly to protect children from these kinds of pain. And find out that he has admitted to sending "inappropriate" communications to pages working on the Hill. And his counsel broadcasts that he was molested as a teen, has a problem with alcohol and isn't a pedophile. And that's supposed to excuse this somehow...

It's time that we say "enough!" Enough to excuses for doing things adults should't do to minors (whether or not technically legal under existing laws). Enough for people who think checking into rehab is the right response to doing things that everyone knows is wrong. Enough to people in positions of trust and authority for misusing both.

am I angry?
you bet!
and you should be too.


Experts cite need for online parenting (October 8, 2006)

all parents are clueless when their kids online lives are involved. I was too. I just cheat, because I work with teens who help me understand what other teens are doing online.


This journalist started the interview with a question, apologizing about asking what non-techy parents should be doing to keep their kids safe online. I explained that no parent knows enough about this. I work with high-tech company execs and software designers who don't know how to do this. why? because kids use the technologies differently from the way we do as adults. So...remember to repeat after me "I am the parent." "Because I said so." "It's my house and when you live in my house you follow MY rules..." got it? sound familiar?

good. :-)Experts cite need for online parenting (October 8, 2006)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

KTLA The CW | Where Los Angeles Lives | Are Web Sex Predator Watchdogs the Good Guys or Grandstanders?

I haven't been shy about my disregard for the tactics of Perverted Justice. I want bad guys behind bars, not on TV. After the first show, four of those apprehended in the bust called me asking for representation. They had obviously found either my blogs or and somehow missed the part about my now donating most of my time to protecting people, especially children, online. I politely declined. :-)

Happily for those of us who care about protecting children online, many cyberpredators are not very bright. They often use their real names and in some highly publicized cases, for top internet executives and homeland security types, send magazine articles about themselves, bragging about their fame, success or something else that ties back to whom they are in real life.

For the last eight years I have donated most of my time and money to my cause of making the Internet safer for everyoe while promoting its use. I take this very seriously. My thousands of volunteers are not paid consultants to TV networks. We have been doing this for 11 years, and do it for love, not money.

I will continue to criticize Perverted Justices work and tactics. Everytime they entrap someone, that predator walks. Those naive enough to plead guilty, instead of finding a qualified lawyer, might find themselves in jail. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together will call a lawyer and given the group's inexperience will probably find an easy out of jail. Embarassed, no doubt, but now better able to avoid the next sting.

my 2 centsKTLA The CW | Where Los Angeles Lives | Are Web Sex Predator Watchdogs the Good Guys or Grandstanders?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Piczo Plays It Safe

a good article highlighting Piczo's safety practices and I appreciate the heads up about some of their privacy gaps. But one item eeds correction. They didn't retain me. Our safety tips appear as a public service of, the watchdog and safety charity I run. Piczo work with us to make sure their site is safer than some of the others. So, they have our tips, but becasue they deserve them, not becasue they hired me to write them :-)
Piczo Plays It Safe

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mark Foley - is engaging in sexual discussions with a minor online a crime?

I have been called by legislators, law enforcement and media, all asking the same question - is what Mark Foley did in e-mails or IMs with former pages a crime? Can he be charged with a crime? Although I covered this last night for the ABC Nightly News team who broke this story, it will help others understand what is and what isn't covered by US laws. And, while boring, a review of the law might help us determine if we need more legislation or clarity. The bottomline answer is "It depends on whether there is proof of his intent to engage in more than just chatting about sex." And the jury is still out on that.

Before I lay it out, I need to explain some of the conditions/assumptions. In the US there are state (or local) and there are federal laws. In the case of child sexual exploitation, there are often both state and federal laws, sometimes conflicting and sometimes complementing each other. This response covers Federal laws and references NY laws, as well. (Although I have no reason to believe that NY laws would apply.)

I have seen some of the communications. I am not sure if all of those I reviewed have been made public or not. I suspect that more communications will be discovered as time goes on and more young men or witnesses may come forward. So, this is based on what I have seen to date.

The most important laws covering online communications with minors involving sexual activities is Title 18, Section 2422 (a) covers someone who is trying to get the minor to travel across state lines (and also covers Internet communications as federal commerce) and provides:

"(a) Whoever knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, to engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."

Title 18, Section 2422 (b) covers someone who is trying to get a minor to engage in sexual activities which would constitute a crime, and provides:

"(b) Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years, to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 30 years."

The important provisions for this law to apply require that 1. the minor is under 18, 2. the adult "knowingly" is involved in this activity, 3. they have gotten the minor to, or are trying to get the minor to, "engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense."

As in all criminal laws within the United States (with a few exceptions not relevant here), intent (or "mens rea") is essential. The prosecution must prove that the person charged with the crime intended to engage in the criminal activity. In this case, the criminal activity would have been engaging in criminal sexual activity with a minor. But just talking about it, without proof of intent to act on it, may not be enough.

The law is very clear that not all sexual activity is covered. Only sexual activity "for which a persona can be charged with a criminal offense." Verbal or written communications, unless they arise to a special level (such as talking about bombs on a plane, or stating that you intend to kill the President, etc.) are generally not criminalized. Images are more likely to be criminalized than written or oral or digital "speech." This has to do with the First Amendment protections and the underpinning belief that words, in most cases, are not dangerous and the ability to speak them should be protected.

In addition, many people say things without intending to do them. The laws in the US are designed to make sure that innocent people are not put in jail. This differs from the premise in some other countries that no guilty person shall go free. Whether you agree or not, it's the basis of the US legal system and reflected throughout our constitution.

With that in mind, let's look at the communications purportedly between Foley and several pages. At least one claimed to be 17, turning 18 on February 23rd next year.
If it could be proven that Foley intended to engage in sexual activity for which a person could be charged with a criminal offense with that young man, he could go to jail. Even consentual sex with this young man, given their age difference, would have been potentially criminal if it occurred before the young man's birthday.

At what point did his activity become criminal? At what point merely fantasy? Was he prepared to act on his discussions or just have discussions? The answer to that is what will determine the legality or criminality of his actions.

A longstanding NY law covers "grooming" which is when adults engage minors in sexual communications designed to entice them into sexual activities. It works both online and offline. In the UK, "grooming" laws were implemented without the challenge of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The NY law criminalizes the sending of "indecent" content to minors.

The law provides:
NY CLS Penal § 235.22 (2006)

§ 235.22. Disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree

A person is guilty of disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree when:

1. knowing the character and content of the communication which, in whole or in part, depicts actual or simulated nudity, sexual conduct or sado-masochistic abuse, and which is harmful to minors, he intentionally uses any computer communication system allowing the input, output, examination or transfer, of computer data or computer programs from one computer to another, to initiate or engage in such communication with a person who is a minor; and

2. by means of such communication he importunes, invites or induces a minor to engage in sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct, or sexual contact with him, or to engage in a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance, or sexual conduct for his benefit.

Disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree is a class D felony.

In 2004 the NY courts in The State of NY v. Jeffrey Skya (2004 NY Slip Op 24442; 6 Misc. 3d 188; 789 N.Y.S.2d 403; 2004 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2158 decided October 29, 2004)
(looked at a challenege to this law, which was based on the fact that no images were used, only graphic discussions of sexual activity. Without an image, the defendant contended, the law could not apply. The judge disagreed.
He looked instead to the Oxford University Press dictionary which "defines "depict as 1). Represent by a drawing, painting or other art form; 2). Portray in words. The Thesaurus gives the following synonyms for depict: describe, draw, delineate. It is therefore clear to this Court that the "plain meaning" of depict includes words and is not limited to only visual images."

he then went on to explain that "the statute prohibits the communication which depicts actual or simulated sexual conduct. "Simulated" is defined by the Penal Law as follows: "the explicit depiction or description of any of the type of conduct described....which creates the appearance of such conduct." Penal Law Section 235.00(6).(emphasis supplied)."

In dismissing the defendant's challenge, the judge stated that "Clearly the legislature enacted this law to address the growing concern over pedophiles communicating with minors over the computer network regarding sex and luring the minor into a sexual relationship. "The legislative use of inherently imprecise language does not render a statute fatally vague so long as that language conveys sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and practice." People v. Shack, 86 N.Y.2d 529, 538, 658 N.E.2d 706, 634 N.Y.S.2d 660 (1995). Penal Law Section 235.22 clearly puts an offender on notice of what conduct is prohibited, i.e., sexually oriented computer communication with a minor for the purpose of inducing or inviting that child to engage in sexual conduct with the adult."

The existing federal laws do not read "depiction" as broadly as the NY law does.

I was just informed that the NY law was recently successfully challenged, finding that words alone (without images) were insufficient to trigger the criminal law. I was told a case came down in July. I will look into this.

so, until then, the answer to whether Foley's actions are criminal, based on his discussions without more, is "not sure."

a lawyerly answer if I ever heard one. :-)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What we have learned about

Over the years I have learned that with every tragedy usually comes something good. Perhaps it's to balance out the bad. Perhaps we are just looking for anything good, no matter how hard it may be to find it.

With the terrible tragedy in Montreal and the violent shooting, I didn't expect to see anything positive come out of it.

I was asked by the media to explain how a community network can help influence behavior. I was asked if violent video games can create violent real life behavior. I have been asked these questions before. And my answer really hasn't changed, with one exception.

I'll discuss that in a minute.

My constant answer is this:
Content doesn't make murderers. Violent games and violent content alone, IMHO, can't influence a stabile mind. Millions of people play them and access this content and never kill, hurt or attack others. Fragile minds, however, might be influenced by this kind of content. But you can't regulate or prohibit content because some troubled people can be influnced by it. It's not fair ot the millions of users who enjoy this content and can keep the virtual separate from reality.

Years ago, when most of the other voices of Internet safety were advocating turning off the technology and the Net entirely becasue of potential dangers, I used an example that got everyone's attention. I took out a sharp pencil and asked everyone what it was supposed to be used for. "What are its benefits?" I asked. Everyone responded "for drawing a picture." "for doing math." "for writing music." "for designing." "for jotting down notes." "for creating a love poem."


the I asked "what are the dangers?" after a couple minutes they responded "running with a sharp pencil is dangerous." "the lead can break off in your skin." "it can ruin something if pencil marks get on it."

no real surprises.

"Should we post warnings on pencils about the risks of falling on a sharp point, or having the lead cut into you or getting lead marks on your white sofa?"

in unison, they all shook their heads. "of course not! those risks are obvious. And if not obvious, something that all parents teach their kids to watch out for."


I closed in for the kill. "What about kids who poke other kids in the eye with a sharp pencil? or even a dull one!"

they all stared at me, as though I had lost my mind.

"Should we blame the pencil manufacturers?" (comments about overly hot cups of coffee held in your lap and other non-sensical lawsuits ensued.)

"What if someone who owned a pencil also stole a car?" They were ready to have me committed to a mental institution. "Would you see a connection between owning pencils and stealing cars?" They began to move towards me slowly...speaking in hushed tones (one had a white fabric garment hidden behind his back...two others began to cut off my means of escape...

"My point exactly!"

(I have said this more often in connection with MySpace than with any other site.)

Lots of people have pencils, or a myspace or if you are a member of the goth community, post on

It's easy to see connections when there aren't any.

Pencils and stolen cars. Murders and being a goth.

Goths, I am learning, are a relatively peaceful bunch. They may dress, wear their hair and use body piercings in ways others don't, but that doesn't make them satanic worshipers or advocates of violence.

Now, here's the exception.
While content, IMHO, can't influence violent behavior, communities can.

Social networks are communities. They can be a community for college or high school students (facebook), one for everyone and their dog (myspace) or one for goths (or people who want to look like or sound like one or watch them, like Communities encourage behavior. When you go to church, for example, you learn to walk quiestly and to sit relatively still because others do and others would also react if you didn't. Kids are famous for wearing pruple with green if the cool kids think they are the cook new color combination. That's a community of cool kids influencing behavior.

A social networking community is a community. If the only way to look cool is to pose without your top, expect to see more topless poses on the site. And if a site permits, condones or the community encourages violent or threatening behavior, you will see more people acting out, because the community permits it.

I had judged VampireFreaks based on their failure to respond ot our complaints, when we worked with victims of cyberbullying and concerned users and in some cases parents. The the shootings occurred and I publicly voiced my frustration with VF administrators failing to respond to us.

Jet sent me an e-mail. I learned that there is more going on behind the scenes on moderating the site and encouraging safer behaviors. Jet has paid and unpaid site moderators, and rules about on site behaviors.

He has also educated me more about goths.

so, what role did VF play in influencing the shooter? The jury is still out...but I feel that it might be a pencil and car thing more than a myspace posing in your bra thing.

we'll see how it plays out.


Friday, September 15, 2006

'Troubled kids gravitating' to vampire site

Goths are typically non-violent. They may have body piercings and purple hair, but generally don't hurt others. Sadly, Kimveer Gill didn't fit that mold. He opened fire on students at Montreal's Dawson College last week.
He was a frequent user of a website,, that is very popular among goth teens and young adults. I have had issues with this site previously, and never received a response to our inquiries and reports to the site.
I hope that this will change now that the site's founder has reached out to us.
I don't like blaming a site for the actions of its users.
But this site has become more of a problem than it should be, given the number of users.
Hopefully we can work with them to help them create a more responsible site that is more responsive to safety and security concerns.
But, I am hopeful that they have taken the first step and reached out to WiredSafety and me to make sure that our complaints are received and handled. It's a start. 'Troubled kids gravitating' to vampire site

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Why parents must mind MySpace - Dateline NBC -

Parry on Dateline talking about myspace.Why parents must mind MySpace - Dateline NBC -

Facebook announces new open membership policy - Minnesota Daily

Kids tell me over and over that they think facebook is safer becasue the other users have to be a member of a school or invited by one who is. The one thing that makes facebook special is their "red-rope" appeal. The students in private schools and catholic schools feel more elite. And many are intrigued by Mark's start at Harvard. If they are really seeing to open the site to everyone with an authenticated e-mail address, I suspect they will lose more users than they will gain. Dads like the one in this article might sign up, but I doubt he will use it as often as Ryan would. I once again suggest that Mark listen to his users. They are his customers and if they are unhappy, can find a new place to "shop."Facebook announces new open membership policy - Minnesota Daily

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Online: Safe and Sounds -

"Free music and moves" cost lots more than you thought when you find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit. And that cute 14 yr old boy may not be cute, may not be 14 and may not be a boy...teaching kids to watch out for their safety and the safety of their friends is crucial. This short and sweet article is directed at the kids themselves...might be good to ahre it with your kids.Online: Safe and Sounds -

Wi-Fi gives kids access to unchaperoned Net | CNET

Just when you thought you understood the risks...finally have your computer in a "central location" cities open up wifi connections allowing everyone (including your 12 yr old) access from their wifi devices - PSP, and others.Wi-Fi gives kids access to unchaperoned Net | CNET

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

a little bird from Atlanta told me....

I was recently e-mailing with someone I met from Atlanta. She asked me what I have been doing recently...when I asked her why, she explained that she missed my blogging. Whoops.
Things have been crazy...lots of running around.
I'll be blogging for Yahoo soon, and adding video to this blog to make it more dynamic...
Recently I was at the White House rose garden for the signing of the Adam Walsh bill, enlarging the penalties for predators and creating a national sex offender registry. I spoke briefly with Elizabeth Smart and her dad and John Walsh...
Look for that footage shortly, along with footage of other events I have attended.
I have testified before Congress several times this Spring, all on Internet safety issues...
lots going on...
too busy to blog...
but expect to see more when I can take a breath.

stay safe...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

ABC News: Teen Tells How He Was Lured Into Child Porn

Parry as expert on Good Morning America...warning parents to think before buying webcams and other interactive devices for their kids...and reminding kids ot thinkb4uClick. (in video of Justin Berry)ABC News: Teen Tells How He Was Lured Into Child Porn

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Art Wolinsky, WiredSafety's head of education...the best tech educator I know!!!!!


Celebrating the life of Nigel Williams

I have known Nigel for almost ten years. During that time, Nigel taught me so much about life, friendship and creativity. When you find yourself in a small group of real experts in an emerging field, you turn to each other for guidance, support and strength. Nigel will be sorely missed. The world is a little bit dimmer, sadder and children less safe than they were before his death. I will miss him.Celebrating the life of Nigel Williams

Monday, February 06, 2006 - Cops alert parents to Web site postings - Cops alert parents to Web site postings - Teens putting themselves at risk online - Teens putting themselves at risk online

My podcast for parents on Internet safety...starting with issues

Okay, I know you are frightened to death. Dateline runs a special with lots of men showing up in various stages of undress to meet young teens. Your cherubic 14 year old is swearing like a truckdriver (whoops, I mean a sailor. You can learn more about this reference at my new podcast by clicking here or by subscribing to my feed. Or your kid's friends are engaging in provocative behavior, posting inappropriate pictures an doing things that shock you on their profiles. How safe is or the other sites? How worried should you be? This podcast is free and will be updated as often as I can update it...

this is not the time to panic. it's the time to get there for your kids and start "the talk". You can learn more by visiting often or subscribing to the feed. This podcast introduces the issue of and what parents need to do and more importantly, not do. So, here goes. Click here to hear the audio file. If you don't know how, ask your kids. :-)

be safe

for safety tips...

If you click on safety tips on's front page, you'll read our tips. Our teenangels (our teen Internet safety expert teams) are writing the teen tips for too.

I am not here to be the bad guy, but to find ways you can use these new technologies and stay in touch with your friends safely. You can learn more about this from this podcast, just for you by clicking here.

Also, if you are interested in helping us create the safety guide for teens, we welcome your elp. drop me an e-mail at

bes safe

Removing your child's (or your own) profile

While we get the podcasting working so you can hear the audio files and subscribe to my feed and listen to it on your ipod or other MP3 player or itunes, I thought I would make it easy. So here is the text version of the instructions.

Myspace has two major ways you can remove an entire profile (the content and profile itself). One way is to access feeback section and click on "I want to remove my profile" supplying your url. They will then send removal instructions to the original e-mail address used to set up the profile and registration. The problem is that the e-mail address might not be working, the password to access it might have been replaced or the e-mail may have been fake to begin with. Even if the e-mail is otherwise working, the instructions are often blocked as "Spam" by your ISP, and never get to you.

So, what's a parent (or myspace user) to do?

We have worked out a process with (we hope to make it even easier going forward). This only requires that you have the password and login information for the profile, either because your children are cooperating with you or because you have their password.

There are two steps. You remove everything on their profile, all photos, comments, content and posts. Then e-mail with the url of the page and a request to remove the profile. You can also type in the otherwise empty profile "please remove this profile". Then can remove the profile without the code or any further action on your part.

The trick here is getting your kids to cooperate. Many parents write me and tell me that their kids refuse ot give up their passwords or share their profiles with their parents. I suggest that parents remember who pays for Internet access...this is now a parenting issue, not a technology one. Check back for my audio podcast on this, my newest pet peeve...Parents who are afraid to parent.

good luck!
stay safe!

CBS News | Guarding Against On-Line Predators | February 6, 2006�15:04:47

CBS News | Guarding Against On-Line Predators | February 6, 2006�15:04:47

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The MySpace profile removal process...from their site instructions has a removal process that requires you to send a request to remove the profile. A response is sent to the e-mail used to register the profile account initially. As long as that is a valid e-mail address and isn't blocked by SPAM filters, this process works easily. You can view this process herethrough this video file.

If this doesn't work, I have worked out an alternate process with MySpace. You can listen to the instructions for that here

be safe,

Podcasting on issues - overall tips for parents

I have begun patient, while I make this work :-)
So many parents have been concerned about their teens posting profiles on that we have tried to get them information they need the most. We'll address the FAQs and tips on this and other important Internet safety issues.
Probably the question I am asked the most by parents and teens is how to remove their profile. There is a process set up by that requires you to send a request to remove your profile from the site. Then a code is sent to the e-mail address used to register the profile initially giving the instructions for removal of the profile. But there are many problems with this process. Often the teen doesn't have access to that e-mail account any longer, or it was never a real one to begin with. Or the code is lost in the SPAM-blocking processes of the recipient's ISP and never makes it to them. asks parents to work with their children to remove their own profiles. Together with MySpace, has worked out an alternative process for profile removal (assuming the teen has their password).

I explain that with the password and login, the teen can remove their content themselves. Removing the now empty profile requires a little help. A special address at handles this process. The MP3 explains that process.
The MP3 explains that process.

KUTV: Internet Safety: Transcripts Of FBI Chat

KUTV: Internet Safety: Transcripts Of FBI Chat

Monday, January 30, 2006

South Florida Catholic schools seek to silence cyberbullies: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

South Florida Catholic schools seek to silence cyberbullies: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Newhouse A1

Newhouse A1 Teaching Tolerance: e-bully Teaching Tolerance: e-bully

:: The News-Courier :: Athens, AL

:: The News-Courier :: Athens, AL - Porn 'tidal wave' puts parents to test - Porn 'tidal wave' puts parents to test

Wichita Eagle | 01/30/2006 | Student site Facebook raises some eyebrows

Wichita Eagle | 01/30/2006 | Student site Facebook raises some eyebrows

Union Leader - It�s a dangerous world out there: Parents need to find out what their kids are posting online - Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006

Union Leader - It�s a dangerous world out there: Parents need to find out what their kids are posting online - Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006

:: The News-Courier :: Athens, AL

:: The News-Courier :: Athens, AL