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Success Stories
19.08.2011 Tambov
Tambov City Jewish Community
Seminar in Online Safety Helps a Mother to Keep her Son from Unwelcome Influences

Thanks to the knowledge and skills acquired at a seminar in online safety, Larisa B., a Tvoy Kurs alumna from Tambov, was able to pull her ten-year-old son away from some very shady “friends” he had met in a local online chat.

Children love chatting online, but don’t have sufficient understanding and social skills to discern the true “face” of those they chat with, so when such online interaction leads to a personal meeting, its consequences can be unpredictable and sometimes very unpleasant. This was the experience of Larisa B., a single mother, who had recently moved back to Tambov after a divorce and had to work extra time to provide for the family, entrusting her ten-year-old son Anton to her elderly father.

The boy had a difficult time adjusting to the new place, became withdrawn and spent most of his time on his computer. Gradually Anton’s behavior grew more and more unmanageable, and he started asking for more and more money, ostensibly for school. He also kept “losing” new things his mom got for him, and only after an attempted burglary at their apartment it came out that he had freely posted his personal information (including his last name, age, phone number and address) online and frequently described his home, furniture and gadgets to strangers he had chatted with. He also confessed to meeting some teenagers who had pulled him into gambling, got him into debt and were now demanding money.

In order to monitor her son’s online activities and protect him from harmful influences, Larisa attended the Children’s Online Safety campaign, held in Tambov on 2 June, 2011, in honor of the International Children’s Day. She learned to block harmful websites and filter out suspicious email messages, and learned about Windows Live OneCare, a computer security and performance enhancement service which enables parents to manage their kids’ online activity. She then explained to Anton the importance of a more critical and discerning approach to online information, talked to him about privacy, and encouraged him to confide in her if he ever got into trouble or received any more threats. Following her trainer’s advice, Larisa and Anton together visited a few popular websites, social networks and blogs, evaluating their content and features, and keeping an eye out for potential dangers.

Now Anton understands that not everything published online should be taken at face value, and that he must never reveal personal information to strangers and tell them where he goes to school, what time he and his family members usually come home, and where he spends his free time. He has also decided to never agree to a personal meeting with people he has met online without first consulting his mother.
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