Q's & A's - Internet

Q's & A's - Internet

  • What kind of Internet content is considered illegal?
    • Each country defines what is illegal or not by its national legislation. Accordingly, the world of the Internet as a means of communication and exchanging of thoughts between participants who are subject to the corresponding national legislations, does not operate as a deregulate field. An action that is considered to be illegal outside the Internet has to be considered illegal within Internet as well.  Difficulties arise concerning the enforcement of the national legislations in an environment such as the Internet that knows no national boundaries. The definition of offences also differs from one country to another.
  • What kind of Internet content is considered harmful?
    • Harmful content, according to the definition given by the European Commission, is authorized material subject to distribution restrictions (adults only, for example) or material which some users may find offensive even if, on the grounds of freedom of speech, there are no restrictions on publication.
      In order to protect yourselves and your children, to a large extent, from exposure to harmful content, you could use filtering tools.
  • What kind of Internet content does SafeLine accept reports for?
    • SafeLine accepts reports for websites and newsgroups containing illegal content, which will be forwarded to the police and the judicial authorities. In order to deal with harmful content, users should tern to technological measures (filtering and content rating systems).  SafeLine's interests focus mainly on the subjects of the protection of minors (i.e. child pornography) and of human dignity (i.e. racism and violence).

Q's & A's - Mobile phones

  • How do young people use their mobile phones?
    • Young people like to use mobile phones as it increases their sense of independence by enabling them to make arrangements with friends and family. They are also entertained by games, ringtones and by using mobiles to take pictures. Young people can also exchange data (e.g. pictures or ringtones) wirelessly over short distances using their phone's bluetooth technology. As mobile technology develops, increasing numbers of children have access to the Internet through their phones, providing them with access to their email, social networking and gaming sites etc on the move.
  • Why is it good for young people to use mobile phones?
    • No young person likes to be without their mobile phone at any time! Even though every parent can be heard complaining about the bills, mobile phones can also be a good way of keeping in touch with family and friends, and ensuring the safety of a child.
  • What are the risks young people encounter when using phones?
    • Apart from young people spending all their time chatting to their friends and not to you (!), there are some risks in their use of mobile technology. A large proportion of new mobile phones have web access, and more recently - mobile TV has been launched. This means that young people can access content from the internet and TV wherever they are, and without parental or teacher supervision. With the advent of picture and video messaging - young people need to be increasingly careful about the images they share. It is very easy for inappropriate images to be shared around a number of phones, changed and even put online, where it is impossible to get back. This is particularly worrying, if images are used in child abuse sites. Young people also need to be aware that they put themselves at risk of mobile bullying, or inappropriate intimate contact if they give out their mobile number to people they don't fully trust.

Q's & A's - Social Networks

  • What are social networks?
    • The social network sites are virtual communities where users have the possibility to create a virtual profile and a contact network. Then they can communicate with people of their network through the site. Myspace and  Facebook are the most popular worldwide at the moment.
  • What are the risks when social networking to children and your people?
    • Although chatting online can be great fun, young people can sometimes find themselves in situations where they can feel out of their depth. Risks can arise when young people give out their personal details to strangers. The online world can often seem very different to the real world for young people, and they can be tempted to say and do things that they wouldn't dream of if they met someone face to face. This can include giving out personal information such as mobile numbers and pictures of themselves.
      If they are talking to another child there is a risk that they will misuse this information - for example, by texting abusive messages to the child, or by posting their image on a website; but there is obviously a greater risk if the person that they are chatting to is an adult. Unfortunately, paedophiles - adults who want to meet young people for sex - use the internet, often with the intention of talking with and meeting a child. Young people can be naive to this risk, and often feel that they are invincible, or that 'they would know if someone was lying'.
      Young people will often 'swap friends' through IM, and therefore can be chatting to strangers who they feel they trust because a friend of a friend knows them. IM is a very intimate form of communication - more so than a chat room with many participants, and therefore child abusers will often use this as a means to extract personal information from a young person.
  • What is social network phishing?
    • Drawing information and other personal data from the profiles of social network users, fraudsters send individual emails that include links to «phishing» websites. This method is very successful. A recent experiment that took place in the United States, 70% of the people that received an individual email clicked on  the included link and filled in their his/her personal details in a wire-tapping website.

Q's & A's - Online Games

  • Why do children and young people like to play games over the internet?
    • Gaming can be great fun, and can be a place where young people play and chat to each other. Gaming chat is often focused solely on the game, and young people will often swap user names to ensure that they can get to the next levels.
  • What are the risks to children and young people when gaming?
    • Gaming sites can be fantastic fun for young people, however as with any online technology - there are risks.The three main risks are:
      • Addiction. Online gaming can occasionally be addictive for young people. They can become so involved in the gaming communities that they lose touch with their offline friends, in favour of spending time with online users playing games. Young people often spend hours every night playing games, especially when their parents have gone to bed. For this reason, CEOP recommends that the computer is kept in a family room. Parents will also then be able to monitor what games their children are playing, to ensure they are age appropriate.
      • Abuse.Some young people who use online games can be abusive to other gamers. This can range from saying nasty things if there is a chat facility within the gaming site, to always winning and not sharing cheats or knowledge on how to progress to the next level. Young people should be encouraged that when they play online games, they treat others how they would like to be treated.
      • Risky behaviour.There are some young people who engage in risky behaviour to obtain cheats or knowledge to progress within a game. Adults with a sexual interest in children will encourage them to engage in inappropriate behaviour for rewards including sexual acts via webcam or sex chat. Young people need to understand that their online behaviour has offline consequences and that if someone engages them in a sexual manner online that they should inform a trusted adult immediately.
  • How can I reduce the risks to my children when they are gaming online?
    • Playing games online can be a fantastic past-time for young people, but as parents you may not understand why your child spends so much time playing or how to help keep them safe.
      It's a good idea to keep the computer in a family room. This is so you can monitor the games your child is playing online, to ensure they are age appropriate and also so your child won't engage in activities that could put them at risk. This also means that children will not have the opportunity to spend hours playing games in the privacy of their bedroom after you have gone to bed!
      There are unfortunately some adults who have a sexual interest in children, and will use gaming as a means of grooming them. They may encourage young people to engage in inappropriate behaviour for rewards or cheats. Young people often don't understand enough about the risks and should be encouraged to talk to an adult they trust if they are engaged by someone in a gaming area. As a parent, it's vital that you talk to your child and make sure they know how they should behave when they are gaming. They should be encouraged not to accept cheats or talk to people that they don't know in the real world. If anyone asks them to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell a trusted adult or report their suspicions to CEOP on this website.

Q's & A's - Virtual worlds

  • What are the virtual games?
    • A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment intended for users to inhabit and interact via avatars. These avatars are usually depicted as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional graphical representations, although other forms are possible (auditory and touch sensations for example). Some, but not all, virtual worlds allow for multiple users. The computer accesses a computer-simulated world and presents perceptual stimuli to the user who, in turn, can manipulate elements of the modelled world and thus experiences telepresence to a certain degree. Such modelled worlds may appear similar to the real world or instead depict fantasy worlds. The model world may simulate rules based on the real world or some hybrid fantasy world. Examples of such rules are gravity, topography, locomotion, real-time actions and communication.
  • Who are virtual worlds for?
    • Virtual worlds are designed for specific age groups. However, in most cases these sites are open to users of all ages. The age for which the site was designed is usually mentioned in the parental guide. Parents and carers should be aware that when children below the stipulated age access a site, they could encounter content that is potentially harmful or meet with older players who could pose a threat to their wellbeing. The available features and content on any site are intended only for users of or above the designed age. Children can claim to be any age and there currently are no well established, widespread and foolproof tools to verify age.
  • What effects can virtual games have on these children?
    • Virtual worlds are a relatively new phenomenon, and therefore no extensive research with regards to their psychological and educational effects is yet available. It could be assumed that what has been previously said about TV and video games applies here as well, with greater impact because virtual worlds encompass the characteristics of presence and interaction, suggesting greater involvement of participants.

Source: www.saferinternet4kids.gr 

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