Protecting Yourself Online

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The World Wide Web has made it easier than ever to access and exchange information. However, what many forget is that once that information is posted online, there's almost no turning back.

"There's a lot of new found freedom for teenagers with their cell phones and entering the dating scene. There are some dangers that come with that," said Heidi Davidson with the Grand Junction Police Department.

"The culture has become that information gets exchanged so freely that it wouldn't be a big deal," said District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.

What many fail to recognize is that it is a big deal, and it can often times lead to sexual exploitation of a child offense.

"The law treats possession of child pornography the same whether that photograph was of the person possessing it or not," said Rubinstein.

They said the first step is educating our children, and that starts right at home.

"It's imperative that teenagers can feel that they have someone. A trusted adult that they can go to, even with topics that are as uncomfortable as this," said Davidson.

If you happen to fall victim to sexual exploitation, they said it's important to come forward sooner rather than later.

"I realize that victims may be embarrassed to come forward because that may be one more person who may have to view that image, but we cant help unless we're aware that there's a problem," said Rubinstein.

Meanwhile, if you get these pictures forwarded to you, they said not to pass them on.

"Not only is it a violation of someones privacy and rights, but it is also a crime," said Davidson.

The bottom line is - if you think someone is trying to harm you online, speak up.

For tips on cyber safety and places you can go to get help, just click on the CyberSafe Parent button on the home page of westernslopenow.com


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