Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Make No Assumptions

Just because you spend many hours trying to educate your children on Internet safety, don't assume they practice it.

Just because our school systems have classes, assignments, and lectures on the subject of Internet safety, don't assume your children are receiving the message.

And in case you think you have enough parental controls on your computer to keep your children from doing something they shouldn't, more than likely you don't.

My son, Ronnie, loves Facebook and its associated apps (instagram, oovoo, etc.).  Because he uses sign language and most of his friends don't, being able to type messages and shares pictures over his computer apps seems like a perfect match made in technology heaven.  However, it's not just his friends who are using those apps, and not just his friends that are communicating or at least trying to communicate with him.

Last week, a young lady (at least the picture on Facebook was of a young lady) attempted to engage Ronnie in conversation.  That's a pretty easy thing to do since Ronnie is very social, especially when it comes to attractive young ladies.  The conversation seemed innocent at first, but soon turned to the young lady asking Ronnie if he would like to see her on her webcam.  He was thrilled, and of course said yes.  She said that she needed him to charge something on his credit card before she could do that, and his teenaged brain agreed. 

Problem is, he doesn't have a credit card, only a debit card.  But not to be thwarted, he took a picture of his debit card and posted it on Facebook for the young lady to see.  You can probably guess where things went from there.

Fast forward to the next day, and Ronnie and Chip tried to see a movie.  It had already been agreed that Ronnie would pay for the movie, but when he presented his debit card, it was declined.  About that same time, I received a phone call from the bank's fraud department asking to speak to Ronnie.  It took another day for the fraud department, Ronnie, and the sign language relay operator to connect, and what he found out was that the young lady tried 9 times to charge something on his debit card.

Fortunately the fraud department stopped the transactions, and Ronnie didn't lose any money, but this could have been disastrous. 

I had been randomly checking Ronnie's Facebook account - it's a requirement that my children share their passwords with me - but I need to do it more often.  We also had some more training on Internet safety, but I still wonder if such a situation happened again, would Ronnie's teenage brain rule over his training and common sense.  I'm afraid I know the answer...

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