2015-08-19 / Front Page

Internet Safety; Preparedness

The Church in the Gardens Community House recently hosted two community safety presentations on Cyber-Bullying and Go-Bag Preparedness. Both presentations were hosted by the CITG Community House Chairman Jack Seng, Director JoJo Serventi and the Men’s Club of Forest Hills.

FBI Special Agent Danielle Messineo put forward an in-depth presentation on cyber-bullying and gave internet safety tips for parents and children to make better choices online.

Messineo, a 20-year FBI veteran has been working on the Crimes Against Children Task Force for the past 13 years and has been presenting Safety/Cyber-Bullying lectures to students, parents and communities for the past 10 years. She talked about questioning grammar school children on how many of them had Facebook accounts. Usually 80-90 percent raised their hands, and on being asked how many had “friends lists” of 500 or more, the response was 50 percent, and 50 percent of them had 1000 or more friends in their accounts. In most cases, there were probably three to five sexual predators among the profile friends lists. She suggested that warning signals like children changing web browser pages upon a parent entering the room, staying up late on the computer, and having more than one Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat  account, were indications of children crossing over the social media line of riskiness.

Internet Safety Risks:
Exposure to inappropriate content
Online Predators
Posting personal or inappropriate information
Signs of ‘Predator Grooming.’ Parents should check to see if their children are:
Receiving gifts
Calling unknown numbers
Rejecting family and friends
Getting upset when not online
Minimizing the computer screen in adult presence
Report anyone suspicious to the Cyber Tip line: 800-The-Lost or www.cybertipline.com who:
Sends your child photos or videos containing obscene content
Speaks to your child in a sexual manner
Asks your child to meet in person
Examples of Cyber-Bullying:
Sending mean texts
Photoshopping pictures
Creating fake profiles
Posting fight videos
Spreading rumors and gossip
Posting embarrassing pictures
Posting hateful comments or statements.
Go-Bag Preparedness
The Go-Bag Preparedness presentation was presented by OEM CB6 CERT Team Leader, and President of the 112th Precinct Community Council, Heidi Chain; Deputy Chief of OEM CB6 CERT Team, President of the Forest Hills Civic Association, Barbara Stuchinski, and past President of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, FBI Infragard member and OEM CB6 team member Robert Schnell on the importance of having a Go-Bag ready in case of natural disasters or other emergencies. Examples of Go-Bags for adults, children and pets were on display.
Every household should pack a Go-Bag — a collection of items you may need in the event of an evacuation. A Go-Bag should be packed in a sturdy, easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or suitcase on wheels. A Go-Bag should be easily accessible if you have to leave your home in a hurry. Make sure it is ready to go at all times of the year.    
Your Go-Bag should include:
1. Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, birth certificates, deeds, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.)
2. Extra set of car and house keys
3. Credit and ATM cards and cash, especially in small denominations. We recommend you keep at least $50-$100 on hand.    
4. Bottled water and nonperishable food, such as energy or granola bars    
5. Flashlight:  Traditional flashlight bulbs have limited life spans. Light Emitting Diode (LED) flashlights, however, are more durable and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
6. Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
7. Keep a list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages. Medication information and other essential personal items. If you store extra medication in your Go-Bag, be sure to refill it before it expires. Get prescription preparedness tips from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
8. First aid kit
9. Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small regional map    
10. Child care supplies or other special care items
11. Lightweight raingear and Mylar blanket
Go-Bags are essential for children and pets as well. Please visit: www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/get_prepared/supplies.shtml  for further information.

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