With today’s ever-changing technology, it is most important that children are protected from Internet predators. Last year the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office prosecuted countless cases in which children and teens either got into trouble for their Internet, smart phone, or tablet activity, or were victimized as a result of it. Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle formed an online safety education program to combat Internet dangers.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is joining law enforcement agencies across the country in using a program called ComputerCOP. ComputerCOP is computer-monitoring software that parents can install to monitor their children’s Internet use and look out for online threats such as cyber-bullying, gangs, drugs, and predators.
Using funds that were seized from criminal activity in Virginia Beach, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office purchased thousands of copies of ComputerCOP. Though it retails for $39.95, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is distributing it to Virginia Beach parents for free.
ComputerCOP is easy to install and use. Some of its features include allowing the parent to view and permanently delete images, emails, and information that has been downloaded. ComputerCOP can search keywords that are typed on the computer, such as “gangs,” “drugs,” and “guns.” Further, the software presents parents with an Internet history log in an easy-to-read spreadsheet form. ComputerCOP discs include safety tips, a link to Virginia’s sex offender registry and Internet safety pledges for children to sign.
A company called UKnowKids has included a cell-phone/tablet monitoring program on the disc. Parents can use the standard version of the cell-phone/tablet monitor for free, or elect to purchase the premium version for $9.95 per month.
“The hope is to arm parents with the tools to protect their children from online dangers and to teach them how to behave safely online,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle said. “As a community, we set the standard for purposeful living for our children. Through this computer-safety initiative, we can make Virginia Beach an even better place to raise a family.”
Virginia Beach residents can pick up a copy of the ComputerCOP software at any of the Virginia Beach public libraries. For more information about the program, visit www.computercop.com and www.uknowkids.com.