Thank you to the State Bar of California which produced the “Kids and the Law” of which this is an extract. For the entire booklet go to: Children’s law

Your children talk to their friends via the Internet. They play games, research school papers and learn aboutthe world in cyberspace. Many youngsters use a computer or the Internet every day for all kinds of reasons—and that use is likely to grow. One national study found that two out of three preschoolers now use computers and one in four has already visited the Internet.     

But while surfing the Internet may open many doors, it can put your children at risk as well. A recent survey found that one in three children (ages 10 to 17) had been exposed to unwanted sexual material online. One in seven had received a sexual other end of their online chats, and their personal information could be misused if they’re not careful. Also, if they download certain material, your children could be breaking the law—and you, as the parent, could be liable.

 Is it ever illegal for an adult stranger to contact my child online?

 Yes. It is against the law for adults to send sexually explicit or obscene material to minors. It is also against the law for an adult with sexual motives to seek to seduce a child online or to arrange an in-person meeting with the child—even if the adult fails to show up. Just setting up such a meeting is a misdemeanor that could lead to a year in jail. And if the meeting does take place, the adult could face four years in state prison for online enticement. (PC §§ 272, 288.3; 18 USC § 2422(b))

 What should I do if my child is solicited or sent obscene material online?

 Contact the 24-hour CyberTipline at 1-800-843-5678 or at www.cybertipline.com. Bylaw, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must report any child sexual exploitation or child pornography to the federally mandated tipline.


 Teens use this shorthand in e-mails and instant messages. Do you know what it means?

121 - one to one 143 - I love you A/S/L? - age, sex, location BCNU - I’ll be seeing you BF - boyfriend B/W/O - black, white, other CUL8ER - see you later DGT - don’t go there DIKU - Do I know you? EMA - what is your E-mail address? F2F - face to face FAWC - for anyone who cares. GGOH - Got to get out of here IMS - I am sorry IPN - I’m posting naked LMIRL - Let’s meet in real life. LOL - laughing out loud P911 - My parents are coming! PIR - parent in room WYRN - What’s your real name?

For a more complete list, go to www.cybertipline.com (then click on HDOP and online lingo)Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 

Sexual Predators and the Computer

 Minimize the chances of an online exploiter victimizing your child:

  •  Communicate and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential online danger.
  • Spend time with your children online.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom.
  • Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders.
  • Always maintain access to your child’s online account and randomly check his or her e-mail.
  • Teach your child the responsible use of online resources.
  • Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child’s school, the public library and at the homes of your child’s friends.
  • Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual exploitation, that he or she is not at fault and is the victim.

 Instruct your children:

 To never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online.   To never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or online 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.   To never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent or harassing.   That whatever they are told online may or may not be true.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation Innocent Images National Initiative

 Tips for Teens who Socialize Online:

 WHAT TO TYPE: Be smart. If you don’t use privacy settings, anyone has access to your blog or profile, not just people you know.


 ● Post your cell phone number, address or the name of your school.

● Post your friends’ names, ages, phone numbers, school names or addresses.

  Add people as friends to your site unless you know them in person.

  Communicate with people you don’t know.

 Give out your password to anyone other than your parent or guardian.

  Meet in person with anyone you first “met” on a social networking site.

  Respond to harassing or rude comments posted on your profile.

  Make or post plans and activities on your site.

  Post photos with school names, locations, license plates or signs.

  Post photos with the name of your sports team.

  Post sexually provocative photos.

  Respond to threatening or negative e-mails or IMs.


 ● Check the privacy settings of the social networking sites that you use.

● Set privacy settings so that people can only be added as your friend if you approve them.

● Set privacy settings so that people can only view your profile if you have approved them as a friend.

● Remember that posting information about your friends could put them at risk.

● Consider going through your blog and profile and removing information that could put you at risk.

● Delete any unwanted messages or friends who continuously leave inappropriate comments.

● Report comments to the networking site if they violate that site’s terms of service.

● Save or print questionable activity and include date and time.

● Tell your parents or guardian if anything happens that makes you feel scared, uncomfortable or confused.

Source: www.2SMRT4U.com (2SMRT4U campaign sponsored by The

National Center For Missing & Exploited Children and the U.S.Postal Inspection Service.)

This information is provided for educational purposes only. For more information about divorce and family law in Los Angeles  please visit www.la-familylaw.com