Internet and Cell Phone Safety Include Reverse Phone Lookups

State police in many states are making an effort to educate Middle School students and parents about Internet and cell phone safety. Although most students have Internet access at home, the adults present at these sessions are usually unpleasantly surprised by the number of students using the Internet and cell phones unsupervised. Clearly, both the parents and the students need to be educated about online and cell phone safety.

The presentations include conversations with teenagers who had been traumatized by an encounter with a child predator. Instructors emphasize to students that one can pretend to be anyone they want on- screen. Teenage boys and girls are both at risk, even when they set their social networking site accounts to private.

Audiences view several simulated situations depicting various possible scenarios. One shows a much older man gaining the trust of a young teenage girl. Police refer to the stage prior to abduction as "grooming" the victim, convincing the typically lonely teenager that he understands her better than her parents, and is offering freedom and other perks. In another example, although a teenager refused to meet in person, he had previously shared his location, and the predator was waiting for the boy on his way home from school.

Unfortunately, it isn't always necessary for the child to share information with a potential abductor, to be found anyway. There are now various ways to trace someone's location with minimal available information. The key is to turn the tables on the attacker and use technology to the child's advantage. Officers show the audiences how to use a reverse phone lookup, and instruct the students that if ever in a similar situation, to try and convince the offender to call them from his cell phone, trace his number to his location using the reverse phone lookup, and immediately inform the police.