Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet

Patti Tanouye
Patti Tanouye
Arnold Laanui
Arnold Laanui

(KHNL) - Digital technology and information swirl around us.  And now, more than ever, parents need to keep-up with their children and the latest high tech gadgets they use.

''The internet is very scary. So, I have to be smarter than my kids," said Patti Tanouye, a concerned parent.

That's the proactive stance Tanouye is taking, as the information superhighway hits hyperdrive.  Tanouye, has two daughters, ages 14 and 7.

''Maybe I'd feel differently if I had boys, or both mixed. But, girls are so vulnerable."

We only need to look as recently as Monday.  That's when police arrested University of Hawaii professor, Marc Fossorier, for alledgedly trying to meet-up with a 15-year-old girl he contacted through the worldwide web.

The girl, turned-out to be an undercover cop.

''We placate our children with technology by giving them the tools, like laptops, because they want to play games, they want to go on-line," said Arnold Laanui with the FBI.  "But, often times they don't realize the tool they give them, that simple laptop, has the ability to reach more people than all of the network stations, all of the radio stations in the United States, combined."

The FBI visits schools throughout our island chain, such as here at Le Jardin.  Agents look to give parents the tools they need to protect their children from on-line predators.

For example, know what types of devices your children are using, and set-up security measures.

Set filters to block certain websites.

Create passwords and separate user accounts to better control the flow of high-speed information.

And most importantly -- talk to your children.  Not just about the internet, but about life.

''The technology isn't going to change. In fact, it's going to go forward. It'll only continue to go forward. So, it is incumbent upon us as mature adults to take that level of maturity and teach our youngsters about exactly what the world is out there."

For better.  Or for worse.

Experts also want to remind parents that despite some highly publicized cases of exploitation, the vast majority of people who use the internet are law-abiding citizens.