For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: December 4, 2006

Wasden Releases New Internet Safety Publications

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today released two new publications addressing Internet safety issues. The pamphlets are part of the Attorney General’s continuing efforts to protect Idaho youth from sexual predators on the Internet.

A Parent’s Guide to Social Networking discusses social networking websites such as MySpace.com and Facebook.com. It describes the nature and content of social networking websites and the risks of unsupervised use of these sites by young people. The booklet also describes how parents can determine if their children are using social networking websites, how to discuss social networking websites with their children and how to delete a social networking website account.

“Social networking websites have become extremely popular with young people,” Attorney General Wasden said. “This popularity can easily equate to danger because it invites one to one communication with people who may not be whom they claim to be. There have been many instances, including here in Idaho, in which registered sex offenders have been active users of social networking websites. I urge every Idaho parent to read these two new publications.”

The Internet Lingo Dictionary gives parents a glimpse inside the online world of young people. The 36-page pamphlet lists more than 500 common Internet acronyms and their meanings. Frequent Internet users, including many young people, have developed their own shorthand language to save time typing and hide the real meaning of their messages from others. Common acronyms include “POS,” meaning “parent over shoulder” and “WOMBAT,” shorthand for “waste of money, brains and time.”

An example in the dictionary shows how Internet users string acronyms together: “19/m/ca watz ur n/a/s/l? snd m ur p# we can pRt! g2g4n” To most people, this looks like nonsense, but it’s not. The message is from a 19-year-old male located in California (19/m/ca), asking for the recipient’s name, age, sex and location (watz ur n/a/s/l). His message is: “Send me your phone number (snd m ur p#). We can party! (we can pRt!) Got to go for now (g2g4n).”

Both publications are available in English and Spanish on the Attorney General’s website.

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