Internet Safety

Internet Safeguards for Parents

The Wilmette Police Department receives numerous questions from concerned parents about the Internet and their children. We routinely conduct Internet Safety talks for parents and teachers. Some of the information we gather on Internet Safety comes from well known Internet sites such as:

The FBI website contains information for parents to determine if their children are at risk while on-line:

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

  • Talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.
  • Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household.
  • Use parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.
  • Always maintain access to your child’s on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be candid with your child about your access and reasons why.
  • Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms.
  • Find out what computer safeguards are used by your child’s school, the public library, and at the homes of your child’s friends. These are all places where your child could encounter an on-line predator.
  • Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual exploitation, that he/she is not at fault and is the victim. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his or her actions.
  • Instruct your children:
    • to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line;
    • to never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or on-line service to people they do not personally know;
    • to never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number;
    • to never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images;
    • to never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing;
    • that whatever they are told on-line may or may not be true
The Internet opens up a world of knowledge and possibilities to children. However, without proper supervision, they can be exposed to material that is dangerous and adult in nature. Please make sure your children surf safely.

On-Line Scams

During the past several years, on-line fraud has been steadily growing. The most common scams are:
Internet Auction Fraud – The Internet Auction Fraud entails a victim sending money to a seller and the victim does not get the product purchased or the product does not match the promises. Buyers need to be aware of the potential for fraud if they do not know the seller.
Phishing Scams – A person receives a very “official” looking e-mail from a company (ie, banks, retail stores, etc) that request the victim log-in and verify account information. Reputable institutions will not e-mail you requesting this of a customer. Any information you add or change on-line should be done by the user going directly to a web page and NOT clicking on a link in an e-mail.
Lottery / Contest Winner E-Mail – This is an e-mail stating you have won the lottery in another country. All the winner has to do is pay the taxes on the lottery winnings. The taxes usually are in the thousands and the victim is asked to send the funds to another country. Another version on this is that you have “won” an item (like a video game system or iPod) and all you have to do is pay the shipping costs by providing the sender with your credit card number and PIN.
There are numerous other Internet Scams. Some of these can be found by visiting the FBI’s webpage at

It is always helpful to remember that if something appears to be “too good to be true” it most likely is, if you did not enter a contest you did not win anything, and never enter ANY personal information on any website that you navigated to by clicking on a link in an e-mail.