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2007 LAPD Essay Contest Winners & Winning Essays

Ms. Duffy

St. Charles Borromeo

            My name is Ms. Duffy and I am a Los Angeles police officer.  In this summary, I am going to provide some basic Internet safety tips.  The information that I am going to provide will be useful for both children and adults.  Do you know that many kids and adults will get abused through cyber talk daily?  The rates of cyber abuse are growing.  Through instant messaging, chat rooms, myspace, and email people can abuse you without you even knowing.  Many people, when at this stage of insecurity, will give out personal information.  By following my simple safety precautions, you will raise your Internet awareness.

            There are four basic Internet safety tips that I believe all children and adults should know.  First, everyone including adults should know you should never give out any personal information over the Internet.  These things are your name, home address, telephone number, and school name.  Also, always ask for your parent’s okay to be on any chat room.  Second, do not meet someone you met over the web without your parent’s approval.  Third, do not be afraid if someone is saying something that makes you uncomfortable to tell your parents.  They can help!  Finally, you should always be aware that the person you are talking to may be an adult and tell you they are a kid.

            Internet safety can affect all of us.  None of us is immune from that.  We must learn to keep our defenses up against the predators that lurk in the Internet.  It is only with looking beyond our safety zone, that we will truly be able to protect ourselves.  Young people have to be aware that there are bad people out there that are looking to take advantage of them.  We have to be aware of the dangers that lurk beyond our protected world.  We are all at risk.  It is only with the cooperation of our parents, mentors, and teachers that we can make sure that we are truly being safe.  That is something that will make us feel we are into a safe place in the Internet.  There is a big world out there that we do not always understand.  Knowing that will hopefully make us more ready to deal with the bad guys who try to do bad things on the Internet.

Ms. Cosme

St. Elisabeth School

            Is the Internet safe?  Well, it can be safe if you follow some rules I have for you.  Some people think that the Internet is safe, but it’s not.  When you’re on the Internet you run many risks.

            First of all you shouldn’t give your personal information.  Personal information is the following:  address, phone number, full name, age, school, and social security number.  Your personal information also involves cloth style and pictures of you.  You wouldn’t want to put all this because they will find out sooner or later who you are.  For example, if you give your school they can follow you and find out where you live, especially if you go walking.

            When you go online you should never meet people.  You should never meet people online because you never know what that person is up to.  There are many crazy people out there that we don’t know.  You should never open e-mails from unknown senders.  Set certain controls on websites and you should clear history to protect information.

            Where in your house is your computer?  Your computer should be visible to adults.  It should be visible to adults because inappropriate or dangerous pop-ups might pop on your screen and the adults should take care of that.

            These are the rules that you should follow if you want to be safe in the Internet and there would be no reason or problem that your parents should worry about.

Ms. Viramontes

Thomas Edison Middle School

Age: 12

            If I were an LAPD cop I would give advice to kids that have their own chat room.  Chat rooms are dangerous because many kids get hurt or sometimes even killed.  It’s because many adults put themselves as kids to get their information.  When these crazy adults get the information, they usually kidnap the kids or hurt them or just kill them.  Kids are not aware of these dangers so I as an LAPD officer would inform these kids of these dangers within the chat rooms.

            I would also try informing parents so they can be aware of the dangers their kids are in when they are in the chat rooms, so that they also can keep their kids on check.  Next I would also inform the kids because a lot of teenagers, males get girls pregnant because they me on the chat room, my final aspect about this is to inform the kids that although chat rooms are fun, they can be dangerous.

I really don’t know how many accidents happen because of these chat rooms.  An example of these chat rooms is MY SPACE, I am not doing this to criticize this website but I am pretty sure that some stuff already has happened.  These chat rooms have to be known for what they really are.  From my person experience I am not really fond of these little chat rooms.  I think if I were to be an LAPD officer I would do the community good by informing both kids and parents about these dangers that are a click away by using the computer.

            I hope me as an LAPD officer can help get kids out of easy dangers.  Just writing this little essay is making me really become an LAPD officer, it is really motivating me.  I wouldn’t mind being one if I can warn kids about these chat rooms and make the world a better place.  Finally, I would warn the kids about these chat rooms.  I would like to thank you for taking your time to read my essay.  I hope you as the reader also learned a little from my essay and try to do something yourselves also.

Ms. Egbe

Immaculate Heart of Mary School

            Are you online often?  Do you visit chat rooms and/or have a personal website?  If so, do you take the necessary precautions while online?

            Most likely you know that there are various dangers on the Internet.  People are hurt every day through computers because they are not careful while online.  If you follow my tow suggestions here you could become a lot safer.

            By putting out one simple bit of personal information, such as your name or a picture of yourself, you can be tracked down by someone dangerous and unknown.  To prevent this danger, don’t give out your information to anyone you “meet” online.  In my opinion, you aren’t meeting the person.  After an online chat you still don’t know who they are.  If possible, get a parent/guardian’s approval before putting out your information.  If you are just casually going through websites for fun, you can put up a made-up name.  If these precautions are taken you will not be discovered so easily through your identity.

            It is not the Internet that creates dangers for its users, but people using the Internet with bad intentions are those that make it dangerous.  For example, many including you can be sometimes fooled into thinking you are chatting with someone honest.  In reality you are chatting with an unknown person pretending to be someone else.  They may be trying to get some personal information out of you to find some way to offend or even hurt you.  For this reason and for your safety, it is best not to trust anyone on the Internet.  If possible, it is best to meet someone in person and get to know them before using other means to communicate.

            Computers are great learning tools, if used correctly.  However, they must be used with the knowledge that not all users have good intentions.

Ms. Esquivel

Carver Middle School

            The Internet is not always safe.  So what can you do to secure your safety?  Well there are many options on sites in order to be safe in the Internet.  For example on chatting sites.  Your safety on the Internet is not only the best for you, but for your surroundings as well.

            To begin with, your first option could be to make it private.  Myspace is one site that gives you that option.  This is preferable by many teenagers and adults that visit that site.  If you make your page private, you as well, enclosure your information.  Making it private gives you security.

            Furthermore you should never begin to chat with an unknown.  They begin to make you believe that you can trust them.  Another reason is that they might just want your information or persuade you to do or say something confidential.  Not only putting you in danger but your surroundings as well.

            As well, don’t take any trash mail or reply to it!  Also not taking any invitations from party’s or homes.  For the reason, they might have bad intentions or vile meanings.  One example is the last girl that was on the news.  She accepted a party invitation and attended.  Eventually they found her dead.  The situation was horrible not only for the parents but police too.  It hurts both to lose human beings that could have been something great in life.  Our safety is not only important for ourselves but the community as well.

            To conclude, Internet enclosures your confidential business and keeps you safe, as long as you take precautions.  The Internet is not as trustworthy as it seems to be.  Some people believe that others will not be able to track them down or want to hurt them, but the reality is that there are many people out there looking to hurt someone.  So being Internet safe is the most required for our safety.

Ms. De Guzman

Immaculate Heart of Mary School

            The Internet is one of the most popular reference sources in the world.  People depend on the Internet to accomplish many tasks.  Through the Internet we are able to do research, study, play games, listen to music, and many more.  Through 3-mail, websites, and programs we are able to keep in touch with relatives and friends and make new friends as well.  With just one click, we can learn many things but we can also put our lives in danger.


            My advice for students who are active in these websites and chatrooms is simply to stay safe.  If you have a personal website, make sure that it is private.  If your website is private, only your real friends are allowed to see it.  If you are chatting with your friends, make sure that you really know that person.   There are many people out there who pretend to be someone they are not in order to gain information about you.  These people are called online predators.

            In order to avoid being stalked by online predators, you should never expose any personal information.  Don’t reveal your whole name, address, or any information, which they can use to find you.  Don’t trust anyone you don’t know even if they seem decent or familiar.  Making new friends is fun, but that doesn’t mean you should be friends with everyone.  Some online predators pretend to be younger so you can become their friend.  Before you make a new friend online, you should find out how you are connected with that person, and if it is really the person they claim to be.  Finding out who that person really is may take work and time but if you really want to make new friends do it safely.

            There are many benefits that you can obtain from the Internet despite the dangers that lurk around.  You just have to think smart, and think safe.  As the saying goes, “It is better to be safe than to be sorry”.

Ms. Ramirez

Carver Middle School

            What kind of tips would you give a middle school student who visits chat rooms and have personal websites?  Well I have two safety tips that might help middle school students.  My first tip is to don’t give out personal information.  My second tip is to be aware of who you chat with.  During this essay I will be explaining why I think middle school students should use these Internet safety tips for chat rooms and personal websites.

            Middle school students should not give out personal information on their personal websites or in chat rooms.  For example, giving out personal information is like giving out your address and your phone number; this can be dangerous for middle school students because if a stranger can look at your personal websites and you have your personal information the stranger can get your information.  Sometimes students don’t realize having personal information can be dangerous.  That is why I think middle school students shouldn’t have personal information on your personal website.

            Be aware of who you chat with.  To explain being aware of who you chat with is also important because there can be sexual predators who act like teenagers and can make you believe that he is nice, understanding teen.  I think it would be safer and better to just chat with or to write to people you know like friends, also it can be safer and yet better because if you are aware of who you chat with you can have a good time chatting with your friends and not have to worry about dangerous people.

            To be clear, my Internet safety tips are to don’t give out personal information and to be aware of who you chat with.  In my opinion I would take these tips for other people to take and so you can be aware of things you shouldn’t do in personal websites and in chat rooms.  So I hope this essay can help young middle school students as Internet safety tips.

Ms. Ramirez

Richard E. Byrd Middle School

            There are some very important safety tips that middle school students who chat online, have on his or her own personal websites, or even visit the internet need to know.  Parents need to be concerned about the online activities of their children.  There are many pre-teens and teens engaging in increasingly risky behaviors and are often not supervised by adults while they are online.  Many children and teens have already learned the hard way about cruel consequence that may occur when they post personal information on the web, thinking they will be kept confidential.

            If you use the Internet (web), email, or chat online, you are a cyber citizen.  Just like being face-to-face with people, you should use good manners when you communicate online.  To keep your self-safe you should not give out your personal information such as your address, telephone number, parents work/telephone number, or the name or location of your school.  You should tell you parents right away if you come across any information in cyberspace that makes you fell uncomfortable.  When you are in chat rooms or on your own personal profile, stay away from strangers because people can use the Internet to lay about their age or who they are.  If at anytime you are talking to someone you do not know, do not ever meet or talk to them on the phone.  You should discuss with your parents the rules you should follow while using the Internet.  In addition, one thing you should remember is you should never sign up for anything without asking for your parent’s permission.

            Tell your family to protect your personal or home computer by using anti-virus software and firewalls.  You should never allow a stranger to use your home computer.  If they do, viruses can sneak into computers from the Internet and hurt or destroy information.  Antivirus software is necessary to protect against viruses.  If you have software installed in you, computer you should update them regularly because the manufacturer may release new security protection.  Firewalls create a “wall” of protection between your home computer and the Internet by stopping anyone who might harm or steal your personal information.  Your home computer may already contain firewall software, but if so you should make sure, it is being used.  You should not open an email from someone you do not know or trust.  If you do not know or trust someone who has sent you an email, the best thing to do is delete it quickly.  Computer viruses can spread too many people as an email, and it is never a good idea to read an email from strangers.

            You should not write passwords down on small pieces of paper taped on your computer.  Passwords that are easy to guess are bad choices.  For example, if your name is Sarah, don’t make your password “Sarah”.  Ask yourself a question that only you or your parents can answer, so that answer can be your password.  Also, remember to change your password every three months.

            Myspace and Facebook have recently become the hottest spots on the Internet, with billions of viewers each month.  Yet many parents have only a vague of understanding of these free services that are a rage with teens and pre-teens.  Myspace is a combination of a cyber yearbook, a diary, and a social club.  The uses (who are at least supposed to be 14 years old) build their own web page, beginning with a profile that often includes personal information and a photo.  Although the “terms of agreement” for using Myspace warns about the dangers of revealing personal information on the web and specifically disallows the use of last names, phone numbers, and street addresses, users are given the opportunity to complete the survey.  This survey prompts students to reveal their real name, their school, and year of graduation, and continues with a long series of provocative questions such as “Do you drink?” while the user doesn’t have to answer those questions many do, sometimes leading to a dangerously revealing profile that predators could find enticing.

http://www.bestschools.org/ms/library/parentnes_insafely_may2006.pdf

            This was a guide to Internet sites meant to help you plan your future, learn how to handle your money, and just have fun.  The Internet can be a great source of fun and facts, but it can be a dangerous place, too.  For example, if any person over the Internet asks you to meet them somewhere to have a great time or to get to know each other this other person could have been lying about everything such as their age.  One example of this would be a female teenager meeting with a male adult.  I believe that there are many good people in this world compared to bad, as my parents have taught me, but then there are the mentally ill with bad intentions towards human society.

Mr. Sarabia

Richard E. Byrd Middle School

            Young children of America: We are all gathered here today to talk about your safety and the safety of your family.  Today, we will talk about Internet safety hazards.  The Internet has helped many people in many different ways, but it can be used as a weapon to others.  The Internet can be used as a weapon in many ways.  Since you cannot see who you are really talking to, you cannot trust anyone.  Every 5 minutes there is a rape, every 25 minutes there is a murder, and this happens day after day all around the world.  By going on the Internet and socializing with these unknown people, you are increasing your chances to be a victim to one of these two. I am here to tell you about different ways to protect yourself and your loved ones form this horrible hazard.

I’m sure all of you have heard of websites such as “Myspace”, “Yahoo chat”, “Aim”, etc.  Some of you may even have your own ID’s and/or profiles in these websites, but it’s not safe.  A man/woman may be talking to you pretending to be someone that they are not.  They gain your trust and later use it against you.  In a lot of cases these predators have invited innocent beings to a common place.  They then go to that place and wait for the victim to show up and they kidnap them.  Many things have been a result of this.  Things such as the adults, teenagers, and even children are being sexually harassed or murdered.  The best way to protect you against this is not to get into these chatting websites.  Of course, not everyone will follow this advice, so there are also other ways.  You can make your ID’s and/or profiles private, so that only your friends and family could have access to your profile.

            So now that I have told you all how to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe from the Internet safety hazards; try to follow my advice.  I hope you all have gained some knowledge from what I had to say today and grow from this.  Thank you.


Ms. Favis

St. Euphrasia

            In the eyes of a police officer the Internet’s chat rooms and personal websites, such as Myspace, Facebook, and Friendster, might just be one huge playing field for hackers, pedophiles, and rapists.  Inside this hazardous playing field those in their teenage years are the main targets ho will suffer most.  The 21st century has many pros and cons.  The pros, which is living in a society which has grown closer towards perfection, with the Internet and all the ‘cool stuff’ found inside.  The cons being our naivete.  Few notice the shocking consequences of the 21st century.  The most popular belief is that the Internet is so splendid and reliable, that it is difficult to see its many flaws.  The main flaws in the Internet world are scamming, dishonesty, and invasion of privacy.

            There are websites in which one can post private and personal information and this, in the hands of delinquents could be a tool for deception and scam.  This invasion could be stopped with the proper exercise of caution, such as not talking and meeting up in person with anyone in chat rooms, always remembering that nothing on the internet is private, and creating a non-identifiable, non-gender specific screen name online.  There are officers, such as the Cyber Law Enforcement Organization, who help prevent scams, but overall, using an ample amount of caution makes it easier to avoid scams and deceit.

            In the eyes of a victim, the Internet might appear perfect, but there are many flaws, predominantly invasion of privacy.  This playing field is fun to hackers, pedophiles, and rapists but it is a scary world for others.  The Internet is not only full of ‘cool stuff’, but also with imperfections.  To ignore these imperfections would be fatal, so it is crucial to be cautious.  However, these imperfections help correct the mistakes in this small part of our society, the Internet, and once all mistakes disappear we will become closer towards our main goal, a perfect world.

Comments

I am a bit surprised that this blog chose to post the full name, age and name of school of it's contest winners - given the subject matter of the contest in itself and the fact that the winners are children.

Does this not defeat the purpose of teaching these children the inherent risks involved in providing personal info online in the first place? You are basically sending a mixed message to these children by teaching them how dangerous it is to post personal information online and yet then going ahead and doing exactly that very thing with their information?!

Just a thought!
Anna

To quote a bright essay winner, "First, everyone including adults should know you should never give out any personal information over the Internet. These things are your name....and school name." If you read all of the essays, you will see that all of these children know better than to give out their personal information on the internet. Unfortunately, the LAPD does not know better and has foolishly posted enough personal info including, full name, age and school name of each child, for any internet predator to see. I would hope that corrective measures would be taken immediatley by the LAPD.

There are many people who put up their real pictures in their webpages. LAPD blog is no exception. :)). Then there are many people who allow others to comment on what they have written. You do not just need a computer. Even a mobile phone have access to the internet. There are people who believe that one day the computer will control mankind. It is like what the song says " every breath you take...". In fact there are taggers. Once you click on the internet icon, they know that you have entered the cyberworld and they will follow you, especially if you are a known person. You have heard of youths hacking into the computer system of a bank and " stole " the money. You have also heard of entry into the military security system. These are people who just know what to do with the computer. The internet is not safe for those doing transactions through it. If you are not careful, your personal details and all the secret codes and numbers will be known worldwide. I do not trust the internet system set up by the inland revenue board, the banks, the airlines, the hotels, the telecommunication service providers, the different government agencies and a host of others. May be I should say it is not the technical part of the system; rather it is the people handling it. There was a time when bored kids alone at home had nothing but the television to watch. Now the computer and the internet is in and they are worse because there is the interaction activity. Some people say that most internet users are females. Some say most are youths in their teenage and young adult age. Adult users are mostly married. My own colleague have met many of her chatroom friends. So you have to be very careful. If you think you can trust that person, you should ask yourself why. If you have to meet, meet in a public place. You should let somebody know where you are going and with whom. This is not to invade your privacy. This is to make sure you are safe.

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