More than 4,400 students, teachers, and parents trained to stay safe online as part of Governor’s aggressive plan to fight Internet crime
ONEIDA – As part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s ongoing effort to fight Internet crime and protect children from online predators, students at ROWVA Junior High School today participated in a NetSmartz Workshop training program. The NetSmartz Workshop was developed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to teach children and teens how to be safer when using the Internet. The NetSmartz training is part of the Governor’s comprehensive plan to protect young people from criminals and sexual predators who use the Internet to search for potential victims.
“The Internet is part of our daily lives, and children can spend hours each day on the Web learning and exploring. This program will help prepare our children to avoid potential dangers as they use chat rooms, instant messages, and conduct research online,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The interactive workshops teach kids and teens how to stay safer on the Internet and combine the newest technologies with the most current research in high-impact educational activities to help prevent victimization and increase awareness whenever children go online. NetSmartz uses 3-D animation, music, and interactive games paired with dynamic activity cards to teach kids about online dangers and how to avoid them.
“Inappropriate use of the Internet can expose our children to significant dangers. The Illinois State Police is proud to offer NetSmartz Workshop training to parents, teachers, and non-profit organizations,” said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. “Through increased education, we can help to ensure our children’s safety each time they go online.”
Since October 2006, ISP officers have conducted the following NetSmartz presentations:
- 45 presentations involving 3,590 students from K-12th grade.
- 22 presentations for teachers or school/civic organizations which involved 826 adults.
The Illinois State Police currently has 53 officers certified to conduct NetSmartz workshop training. For information on scheduling a NetSmartz program or training sessions, please visit the Illinois State Police Internet Crimes Unit (ICU) web site at
www.isp.state.il.u.us/icu or contact the Illinois State Police Safety Education Unit at 217/524.2525.
The Governor’s plan, announced last Fall, has four main components: creating a centralized Internet Crimes Unit (ICU) under Illinois State Police authority, increasing penalties for Internet crime, maintaining the ICU web site to serve as a “One-Stop-Shopping” center where the public can report suspicious online behavior and get information about Internet crime and safety, and using the most advanced law enforcement technology available.
The ICU is comprised of ten officers, seven computer forensic investigators, and eight crime analysts. This makes the Illinois ICU one of the nation’s largest state teams dedicated to fighting Internet crimes. The goal is to create a unique enforcement group capable of educating the public, gathering information from the private sector, coordinating investigations with other bodies and agencies of law enforcement, de-conflicting investigative efforts, researching crime, proactively searching the Web for criminal activity, and then performing the required forensic work to further investigative efforts and assist prosecutors in jailing offenders.
The ICU serves as a point of contact for the general public, schools, and the law enforcement community for all questions/concerns regarding Internet safety or crimes like identity theft, financial fraud, and terrorism. The unit also serves as the initial point of contact for citizen inquiries; a repository for public safety information; provides statewide de-confliction for investigations; and offers criminal intelligence analysis for law enforcement agencies and computer evidence recovery for investigations and trial preparation.
Upcoming NetSmartz presentation(s):
- March 23 – Grigsby Middle School, Granite City
- Look into safeguarding programs or options your online service provider might offer. These may include monitoring or filtering capabilities.
- Web sites for children are not permitted to request personal information without a parent's permission. Talk to children about what qualifies as personal information and why you should never give it to people online.
- If children use chat or e-mail, talk to them about never meeting in person with anyone they first "met" online.
- Talk to children about not responding to offensive or dangerous e-mails, chats, or other communications. Report any such communication to local law enforcement. Do not delete the offensive or dangerous e-mail; rather, turn off the monitor and contact local law enforcement.
- Keep the computer in the family room or another open area of your home.
- Let children show you what they can do online and visit their favorite sites.
- Have children use child-friendly search engines when completing homework.
- Know who children are exchanging e-mail with and only let them use chat areas when you can supervise. NetSmartz recommends limiting chatroom access to child-friendly chat sites.
- Be aware of any other computers your child may be using.
- Internet accounts should be in a parent's name with parents having the primary screen name and controlling passwords. Parents should also utilize blocking and/or filtering devices.
- Children should not complete a profile for a service provider, and children's screen names should be nondescript so as not to identify that the user is a child.