Internet Safety

Livingston County Sheriff Department

150 S. Highlander Way

Howell, Michigan 48843

(517) 546-2440  Voice

(517) 546-1744    Fax


Dear Parent:

As parents we make every effort to provide our children and grandchildren with the knowledge and experiences of life that will enhance their growth and hopefully make them prosper and expand their knowledge and life experiences.  With the technological advances of modern days, this in some ways has made our jobs as adults’ an easier task.

The Internet is a valuable resource of information.  It allows the user to research topics, explore places they have never been, communicate with people in “real time” across the world and a host of other activities. Although there are many good features of the Internet, like anything else in life, there are also areas of danger.   As vigilant as parents may be, in reality they cannot spend every minute with their child while the child is online. 

It is important for Parents to educate themselves in the use of the computer and the Internet.  Both pre-school and school children in today’s life style use a computer on a regular if not daily basis.  Thus, we as parents often have a lot of learning to do just to understand the basics.

Attached is a list of tips of Internet safety for students and parents, Useful sites for keeping children safe on the Internet, Search engines for children and families, and links to filtering and blocking software.

In the event that you or your child encounters a problem that may be a violation of the law while on the Internet, you may call the Sheriff Department.  The Sheriff Department has a Detective that has received training in computer and Internet related crimes that will attempt to assist you. 

If you have any Internet / computer related questions, or have a group that would like a presentation for Internet crimes and / or safety, please feel free to contact Undersheriff Michael Murphy at (517) 540-7932.


Sheriff Robert J. Bezotte                                          Undersheriff Michael Murphy


  1. Parents need to educate themselves in the use of the computer and the Internet.  Both pre-school and school children generally have more of a working knowledge about computers and the Internet than their Parents. Become a part of your child's online experience. It can be a fun journey to explore the wonders of the Internet as a family. As computer-savvy as kids and teens are today, they may even teach you a thing or two!  
  2. As with any other topic, Parents should openly and frequently talk with their children about the usage and expectations of the computer and the Internet usages.
  3. The computer should be in a common room, not in the child’s bedroom so it and the child’s activities can be easily observed. 
  4. Get to know the Internet and any services your child uses.  Are the services appropriate for your rules and your child’s age?
  5. Never give out identifying information such as: home address, school names, grade, age, telephone number, etc.  With the information available on the Internet and a little time and effort, it is easy to locate information about a person.
  6. If you observe sudden screen changes, or what you feel may be unusual behavior by your child while they are online, talk with your child and observe the programs they are using.
  7. Keep track of the amount of on-line time your child spends, and where your child is traveling on while on the Internet. Check the Internet Browser History. 
  8. Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user without your permission and supervision.
  9. If your child has a “special friend”, have they received gifts, computer programs, phone calls, other favors, or do they own phone calling cards?
  10. Never respond to messages, emails or bulletins if they if they are from an unknown source.  Do not reply to the “remove me from list” or similar message.  This will confirm your email
  11. Report inappropriate messages to law enforcement.  If possible save or print out the information and/or chat, and if possible, save the message and do not delete it before speaking with law enforcement officials.
  12. Remember that people online may not be who they seem.
  13. Remember that everything you read online may not be true, whether in an email or on a website.
  14. If there is a problem or suspected problem with a Chat Room report it immediately!  Try to obtain:

a.      What is the name of the chat channel or chat room?

b.      What is the nickname or screen name or the suspect?

c.      Time and dates are very important.

d.      If possible, save the chat or at least print a copy of the chat log or user list.


If you have any questions, contact

Undersheriff Michael Murphy                                                           

Livingston County Sheriff Department                                 


Email:   [email protected]                             



Online predators are out there!!!

Social Networking has become a very important website for people.  MYSPACE.COM,  IMUV Chat, Facebook, Google Talk, Yahoo and some other websites have some very nice features, but there are very important things that you must consider before you post any information on your personal website.  If you don’t, you may expose not only yourself, but your friends and love ones to dangers that you may not have thought about.  Below is a list of helpful tips and reminders that can be used to help recognize these potentially hazardous situations and how to respond appropriately.

  • Do not give out personal information about yourself, your family, friends or school when you have not actually met the person or know and trust the website and know that it is secure (look for the lock in the lower right corner). This is stuff like personal information that can be used by online predators to distinguish you from another person and possibly find you in real life.  This includes your name, address, phone number, school, school mascot, school colors, coach’s name, grade your in, teacher’s name, principal’s name, friend’s names, and family’s names.
  • Get to know your "online friends" just as you get to know all of your other friends. Be sure that you are dealing with someone that you and your parents know and trust before giving out any personal information about yourself via Instant message, E-mail, an Internet bulletin board, or on a website.
  • Never send out your picture without your parents' permission.
  • Do not agree to meet someone who you have met online but you don't know in real life.
  • Be careful when someone offers you something for nothing, such as gifts or money.  Remember, any offer “That is too good to be true”, probably is.
  • Don't ever accept a gift or an offer that involves having someone visit your house.
  • Always tell your parents or guardian if you see something online that you know is wrong or that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Do not open email messages from people you do know and especially when they contain weird or unknown attachments.  Delete them.
  • Don't respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
  • Try not to panic if you see an inappropriate website. Simply exit the window (click X in the top corner), Control-Alt-Delete, or turn off the computer if the website does not allow you to leave the inappropriate material.
  • Only use credit cards or bank prepaid cards online with your parent’s permission and with a website that shows a locked padlock in the lower right corner of your web browser.
  • If you feel uncomfortable about contact with a person, email or website talk to your parents or call the police.  If possible try to save the email, IM chat, or images or at least try to print them out.
  • If you feel uncomfortable about any contact or are unsure about any contacts, you can call Detective Matthew Shutes of the Livingston County Sheriff Department at 517-546-2440 and discuss it with him.  If he is not in you may leave a message with your name and phone number and the best time that he can call you back when you will be at that number.
  • Have fun! The Internet is a great tool that is used for many wonderful things. Just like any community, there are areas on the Internet where you can find yourself in compromising situations. A little bit of street smarts on the Information highway will help make your Internet experience fun, rewarding, and safe! 


1.      NEVER give out identifying information – home address, school name, phone number, bank account information, parents, sibling or child’s names.

2.      Get to know how to use a computer, the Internet and any services your child uses (Instant Messenger, Websites, Blogs, Game rooms, etc).

3.      Never allow a child to meet with another computer user without parental permission and preferably with parental supervision.

4.      Never respond to email, IM messages, or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable.

5.      Do not click on the “remove from email” or “unsubscribe” hyperlinks in email that you do not know the sender of.  Just delete the email.

6.      Report inappropriate messages to law enforcement.

7.      Remember that people Online may not be who they seem or who say they are.

8.      Set reasonable rules and guidelines fro computer use by your children.

9.      Place the computer in a “common” room so that you can easily see what is on the computer monitor while your child is using it.

10.  Make the Internet a family activity so that both you and your child can learn and be safe.


  • Large amount of time are spend online.
  • Pornographic material is saved on the computer
  • Phone calls are received from strangers OR the person is making calls to strange numbers.
  • Use of an Internet account (often dial up) that does not belong to you.
  • Receipt of mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don’t know.
  • Your child has a phone calling card or a cell phone belonging to someone else and provides reasons why they have it or have not returned it to “their friend” as yet.
  • The computer monitor is turned off or the screen on the monitor is quickly changed from one program to another when someone comes into the room.
  • The person becomes withdrawn from the family and/or friends.
  • An Online account belonging to someone else is being used to chat or send messages.


  • To grown ups, the word “bully” may evoke the memory of a sixth-grader who looked old enough to vote or a 13-year-old who advertised a classmate’s phone number “for a good time” on the bathroom wall.
  • BUT, in today’s “wireless age”, who needs fists when you have email, instant messenger, BLOGs, websites and the Internet.
  • And while the ink on the bathroom wall may fade, a personal website can last for years.
  • Today’s young “cyber bullies” are not just limited to face-to-face intimidation.   Children everywhere have figured out that they can be far more vicious by continuing their bullying tactics through the Internet and cell phones (calls, text messages and Instant Messages), and other high-tech mediums.  They also know that by using these methods, they are less likely to get caught than by using the face-to-face tactics.
  • School officials frequently have to deal with the problems of cyber bullying.  Often times, the bullying will be carried out Online, however will continue to the schools with face to face confrontations.
  • Bullying can be very harmful to a child even to the point of suicide.  The website listed below is an example of a 13 year old boy who committed suicide as a result of bullying.  


Websites have become very popular with both adults as well as young people.  These BLOGs/Websites are generally offered for free to the user and have become VERY EASY to create and use.

Websites such as: Facebook, Google+, Yahoo 360, MYSPACE and others, are available free of charge, and have no methods of actual verification of age of the user.  Most young people know that all they have to do is a little math and they are now 18 – 21 years old at the simple use of the keyboard, without anyone actually checking their age.

Persons using these websites can place anything they wish on the sites, often without restriction. These items include: images and personal information (about not only themselves but their  family and friends as well – regardless of age – with or without that other person’s permission). 

The Users often feel that they do not have to worry about their information due to the site having to use a password for them to access.  They also feel that no one can access or search for any of the information that they place on their individual website.  This is very inaccurate.

Websites such as MYSPACE allow the user to search for age, location, school, name, email, as well as other items.   A simple search of MYSPACE for ages 16-18 year-old for active students in a particular high school can result in hundreds of “hits”.  Upon viewing several of these “hits” you may often find images and information of young people well under the age of 18-years-old.  You may also find a person that you know!!!!  

Parents should also be vigilant about the information that may be on such websites.  It is prudent for the parent(s) to talk with their children about any websites they may have and what content may be on them.  Young people will often advise that their site is safe due to it being password protected and that only their friends can access it.   Parents should inquire whom the friends are that have access and if the young person (as well as the parent) knows that person or people.   Parents should be aware that on many of these websites there are chat programs and that after a few chats or request, the young person will often allow an unknown person access.



The following are examples of useful sites for information, software for monitoring online activity and search engines to help parents and children have a safe Internet experience.  These websites and software programs are examples only, and are to be viewed and researched by the parents who must determine what fits their beliefs and needs.  None of the information listed is endorsed by the Sheriff Department and this information is being provided as examples of how you may be able to protect your family and yourself.



America Online Instant Messenger (AIM) IM and video chat:

    AOL member community guidelines that provide several guidelines and resources for protecting your family online.

CAMFROG (Webcam and Video Chat rooms):

    This Camfrog site provides basic tips for staying safe while using Camfrog.

FACEBOOK (Both website posting and IM chat):

    This Facebook site provides safety tips for account settings, safety practices, Parents, Teachers, Teens and Law Enforcement.

GOOGLE/GOOGLE Talk (IM and website posting):

    This Google site provides tips and advice for keeping your family safe online.  It includes items such as Google’s safety tools, mobile applications, YouTube Safety mode and others.

Ichat (Apple’s IM and video chat program):

    This NetSmartz’s website provides tips for your child’s safety when using iChat.

ICQ (IM and video chat):

    This is ICQ’s site that provides safety information.

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which provides a means of IM, video and file transfers:

This site provides basic safety information for child safety, kids, parent tips and teens.

This site provides information for beginners for the Undernet world that includes IRC.

MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) A traditional MUD implements a role-playing scenario that could include online chat.   Safety tips are limited online but the same general principals apply.


    This MySpace site provides safety tips of Parents, Educators, Teens and includes safety videos and other resources.

NINTENDO – Wii (These devices can be used to go online and can also be used for chats and file transfers):

    Nintendo’s site that provides information on how to setup your device to include Parent Controls.

PALTALK (IM and video chat):

    This is Paltalk’s site for a basic safety and explanation on what and how to use the Paltalk program.

PLAYSTATION – PS3, PSP (These devices can be used to go online and can also be used for chats and file transfers):

    This C/NET site provides information on how to set up Parental controls for these devices.

SKYPE (IM, video, Internet telephone calling):

    This is SAFETYWEB’s site that provides safety tips for Skype.

Windows Live Messenger (comes native with most Windows operating systems):

    Windows live messenger site that provides basic safety tips.

XBOX 360 (These devices can be used to go online and can be used for chats and file transfers):

    XBOX site that provides information on how to set up Parental Controls.

YAHOO MESSENGER (IM and video chats):

    Yahoo’s site that provides what messenger is as well as safety tips.





    FBI parents guide to Internet Safety


     This site provides resources for and Online Safety Guide, Internet safety products such as filters to block explicit or violent content; limit time on the Internet or that will monitor child’s activities on the Internet, educational and entertaining websites for children and families and places to report trouble encountered while on the Internet.


     Provides information for educators, law enforcement and parents for Internet safety and training.

Michigan Attorney General:,4534,7-164-18155_48889---,00.html

     Michigan Attorney General website that lists Safety tips, information on the Sex offender registry, computer safety information for adults, parents and children, information on social networking.


    Michigan Sex offender registry


    Michigan Department of Corrections site that provides information on felons and misdemeanants who are, or were, under the supervision of the MDOC.


     Provides information on keeping children safe, resources for parents, missing children information and photographs.  Several of the information publications providing the information is downloads and require Adobe Acrobat viewer, which is a free download

     This site is also part of the NCMEC and provides resources for both Parents and children for Internet Safety.  It has an interview with an actual victim who met with a person that she met online and provides information useful to educate parents and children.


     Provides child safety on the Internet, parents guidelines, and other related information.


    This site provides information for all types of family protection to include Internet Safety and Identity Theft.




Website that provides information on testing and ratings on various
 Computer/Internet monitoring software programs. 
Web Watcher kids software.  Provides monitoring of online activities.  Provides several features.

     Cyber Sentential .  Provides monitoring of online activities and has a feature that allows an email to be sent to a specified email address in the event of a violation.

     Reports to provide customization of filtering, limiting the amount of time online and preventing of revealing of personal information.

     Reports to provide customization of filtering, limiting the amount of time online, block of Chat rooms, and other features.

     Monitoring software that reports several features to include filtering, blocking of chats and websites, mail, and other security features.



Antivirus protection is very important to have on your computer.  There are several brands on the market.  This is also true for Firewall software programs (software that assists in trying to prevent someone from “hacking” into you computer).  The important thing is to make sure that you “update” your virus and Firewall protection on a regular basis.  Each time you sign onto the Internet is the best practice.  Several Anti Virus and Firewall protection software programs are available and can also be researched on the Internet.

Three of the major names are Norton, McAfee and AVG.  These products offer virus protection packages and personal firewalls.  These sites offer a look up feature for checking to see if a certain virus, worm or Trojan name that you received in an email or by word of mouth is an actual threat to your computer.  These sites also offer a free check of your computer to make sure it is not infected or vulnerable to a threat. 


Most chat room have no-profanity rule and some rooms have foul-language filters that screen out inappropriate language.  Likewise many parents who have access to their children’s e-mail accounts will not permit certain language use by their children.

For these obvious reasons, and many others, some chat room users and e-mailers use a coded language that is based on acronyms.  This is a rapidly developing language and complete literacy is very difficult.  The Exploited Child Unit of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has compiled a list of the most commonly used acronyms.  This list will be updated regularly and often.


ACRONYM MEANING                                        ACRONYM  MEANING


adr                   Address                                               dyst                 Did You See That      

afaik                As Far As I Know                              eg                    Evil Grin

afk                   Away From Key Board                      emfbi               Excuse Me For Butting In

aka                   Also Known As                                  el                     Evil Laugh

alol                  Actually Laughing Out Loud             f2f                   Face 2 Face

aml                  All My Love                                       fawc                For Anyone Who Cares

asap                 As Soon As Possible                           ftf                    Face To Face

asl                    Age/Sex/Location                               fwiw                For What Its Worth

aslmh               Age/Sex/Location/Music/Hobbies      fya                   For Your Amusement

atm                  At The Moment                                  fyi                    For Your Information

awol                Absent Without Leave                        fla                    Four Letter Acronym

bak                  Back At Keyboard                              fomcl               Falling Off My Chair Laughing

bbfn                 Bye Bye For Now                                                                                     

bbl                   Be Back Later                                     fubar                F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition

bbs                   Be Back Soon                                                                                        

bcnu                Be Seeing You                                    fud                  Fear,Uncertainty and Doubt

bfn                   Bye For Now                                      galgal               Give a Little Get a Little

bka                  Better Known As                                gbh                  Great Big Hug

brb                   Be Right Back                                                gg                    Good Game

brt                    Be Right There                                    ggn                  Gotta Go Now

btw                  By The Way                                        gl                     Good Luck

bbiab               Be Back In A Bit                                gmta                Great Minds Think Alike

Bbeg                Big Evil Grin                                       gr8                   Great

bfd                  Big F***ing Deal                                g                      Grin

bg                    Big Grin                                              ga                    Go Ahead

cul                   See You Later                                     gol                   Giggling Out Loud

cyo                  See You Online                                   hih                   Hope It Helps

cy                    Calm Yourself                                     hiliacaclo         Help I Lapsed Into A Coma And Can’t Log Off

cya                   See You                                                                          

dl                     Download                                           hth                   Hope This Helps


ACRONYM  MEANINGS                                      ACRONYM  MEANING


iae                    In Any Event                                      otoh                 On The Other Hand

iat                    I Am Tired                                          omg                 Oh My God

ic                     I See                                                    ooi                   Out Of Interest

icbw                I Could Be Wrong                              otoh                 On The Other Hand

idk                   I Don’t Know                                     ousu                 Oh, You Shut Up

igtp                  I Get The Point                                   pans                 Pretty Awesome New Stuff

ihno                 I Have No Opinion                             pda                  Public Display Of Affection

iir                     If I Recall                                            pls                    Please

im                    Instant Message                                  pm                   Personal Message

imao                In My Arrogant Opinion                     ppl                   People

imho                In My Humble Opinion                      pmfjib              Pardon Me For Jumping In But....

imo                  In My Opinion                                                                                            

iow                  In Other Words                                   pots                 Plain Old Telephone Service

irl                     In Real Life                                         ql                     Quit Laughing

ianal                 I Am Not A Lawyer(but)                   qs                     Quit Scrolling

iirc                   If I Recall/Remember/Recollect         qt                     Cutie

                                                               Correctly      rbay                 Right Back At Ya

lu or ily            I Love You                                         rotfl                 Rolling On The Floor Laughing

mho                 In My Humble Opinion                                                                             

mnsho              In My Not So Humble Opinion          rotflmao          Rolling On The Floor

ipn                   I’m Posting Naked                                                                Laughing My A** Off

jic                    Just In Case                                         rotflbo             Rolling On The Floor

jk                     Just Kidding                                                                          Laughing My Butt Off

jt                      Just Teasing                                         rtfm                 Read The F***ing Manual

ok                    Okay                                                   seg                   Sh** Eating Grin

kotc                 Kiss On The Cheek                             sed                   Said Enough Darling

kotl                  Kiss On The Lips                                sfete                Smiling From Ear to Ear

18r                   Later                                                    smaim              Send Me An Instant Message

lol                    Laughing Out Loud                            somy                Sick Of Me Yet

lmao                Laughing My A** Off                       snafu               Situation Normal, All F***ed Up

lola                  Laughing Out Loud Again                                                                     

lool                  Laughing Outragously Out Loud       tfds                  That’s For Darn(Damn) Sure

lwr                   Launch When Ready                          tia                    Thanks In Advance

lylas(b)            Love You Like A Sister(Brother)       tnc or tic          Tongue In Cheek

msg                  Message                                              ttfn                  Ta-Ta For Now

nfw                  No Feasible Way (No F***ing way)  ttyl                   Talk To You Later

nl                     Nice One                                             vbg                  Very Big Grin

nda                  Non-Disclosure Agreement                vbseg               Very Big Sh** Eating Grin

nm                   Never Mind                                         w/                    With

np                    No Problem                                         w/o                  Without

nrn                   No Reply Necessary                           wad                 Without A Doubt

oic                   Oh, I See                                             wb                   Welcome Back           


ACRONYM  MEANING                           

wbs                  Write Back Soon

weg                 Wicked Evil Grin       

wtg                  Way To Go

wth                  What The Heck(Hell)

wywh              Wish You Were Here

wt?                  What, Who, The ?

wtfru               What The F***! Are You!

xm                   Excuse Me

xme                 EXCUSE Me

xo                    Hugs, Kisses

ygbsm              You Got To Be Sh**ting Me!

y                      Why

yw                   Your Welcome

zzz                   Sleeping, Bored, Tired



ACRONYM  MEANING                                        ACRONYM MEANING


:-|                     Ambivalent                                         \~/                    Full Glass

o:)                    Angelic                                                \_/                    Glass (drink)

>:-(                  Angry                                                  ^5                    High Five

|-I                     Asleep                                     (((((name)))))              Hug(cyber hug)

(::O::)              Bandaide                                             (( ))**              Hugs and Kisses

:-{}                   Blowing a Kiss                                    :-I                    Indifferent

\-o                    Bored                                                  :- #                   Lips are Sealed

:-c                    Bummed Out                                      :~ /                   Mixed Up

|C|                    Can of Coke                                        :- O                  Mouth Open (Surprised)

|P|                    Can of Pepsi                                        (_)                    Mug (coffee, beer)

:( )                   Can’t Stop Talking                              @[_]~~            Mug of HOT Coffee or Tea

:*)                    Clowning                                            ****                Popcorn

:’                      Crying                                                 &&&&           Pretzels

:’-)                   Crying With Joy                                  A–)–)(--           Rose

:’-(                   Crying Sadly                                       :-@                  Screaming

:-9                    Delicious, Yummy                              :O                    Shocked

:->                   Devilish                                               :)                      Smile

;->                   Devilish Wink                                     ^                      Thumbs Up

:P                    Disgusted (stinking out tongue)         :-&                  Tongue Tied

:*)                    Drunk                                                  :-\                     Undecided

:-6                    Exhausted, Wiped Out                       ;)                      Wink

:(                      Frown                                                  |-O                   Yawning