November 4, 2013
Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 1:58 PM EDT
Orchard Park, N.Y. (WKBW) - The Internet can be an open book with everything you ever wanted to know right at your finger tips. The Orchard Park Police said there could also be danger behind every keystroke.
“Internet safety really crosses all generations,” Lt. Patrick Fitzgerald said.
Lt. Fitzgerald talks to local groups about these dangers. He starts with the elderly.
“We still see almost on a weekly basis for older folks like identity theft, scams things like that. It is about being aware of your surroundings or not letting your guard down when you are on the Internet or using social media,” Fitzgerald said.
He said dating and other social sites used by all ages can be fun and sometimes successful. Fitzgerald said it could also be misleading.
“You can become whoever you want to become on the Internet. It just depends on how you word it and the pictures you put up,” Fitzgerald said.
They said that sexing among teens and young adults is also something they talk about, warning that anything that goes out on your phone or email or social media is there to stay and it could even effect your future.
“You have to be careful what you do and what you say. It’s easy to say, I was just kidding but when that harassing message is sent or the threatening message is sent you can’t take it back. We are seeing this more and more as technology is changing,” Fitzgerald said.
A fairly newer concept but one that has been affecting many people is cyber-bullying. Fitzgerald said kids are not only getting picked on at school but through their social media sites.
“Years ago a student that was bullied was just bullied at school and now that bullying continues through their cell phone messages and then when they look at their social media site they have harassing pictures," Fitzgerald said.
Even worse, he said there are random predators on the Internet scoping out the kids. He said the key to fight all of this is to make kids and their families aware.
”The kids have that natural level of trust and a lot of them don't realize that there are people out there to victimize them. Getting them aware of it is half the battle but getting parents aware of it is the biggest battle,” Fitzgerald said.