Dear Parents and Guardians:
The Internet is one of the greatest inventions of our time. It expands the walls of our classrooms, and allows students to communicate with friends, do research and get help with homework. But with all the good it brings, the Internet can also expose children to inappropriate material, and even people who may do them harm.
Most young people use Internet technology, like e-mail, Instant Messaging, social networking websites, and text messaging to legitimately communicate with friends and share important information. But too often we see incidents where cyberbullies misuse these technologies to victimize others.
We are also aware of the Internet crimes against children that have grabbed headlines in the media. Sometimes suspects and victims have met each other online through social networking sites, those increasingly popular sites where our children, especially young teens, meet other people, communicate, and exchange information. Unfortunately, these sites have also become a virtual playground for criminals and potential child predators to hide out and communicate anonymously with potential victims.
We realize that the best way to prevent Internet crimes, particularly those against children, is to educate parents and kids about the Internet. Enclosed with this letter are two advisories designed to provide you with this important information. We invite you to help us promote the safe and responsible use of the Internet by talking with your children about how they can protect themselves and respect others online. For more information, parents can also visit the Attorney General’s website at www.ago.state.ma.us.
We hope you will join us in this effort to protect children from Internet crimes and bullying.
Thomas F. Reilly
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Dangers of Social Networking Cyberbullying Online