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Protecting against Internet dangers

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo -- A detective from the Cheyenne Police Department visited the Warren Teen Center Feb. 28 and warned parents and teenagers about the dangers and misuses of social Internet sites.

"It's important to know about these issues on the Internet," Detective J. F. Gay III said.

The Internet is used for a range of purposes and the awareness of its dangers, specifically the dangers and misuses of social Internet sites and blogs, is important for current and upcoming generations.

Social Internet sites like Friendster, Facebook, Tribe Networks, LinkedIn and the most visited site in the United States last year, MySpace, may be familiar to people knowledgeable about the social Internet, but parents only see children use these sites for hours on end may not be aware of what these networking sites are all about.

Detective Gay has given his presentation several times to middle schools and high schools in the local area. The presentation covers many topics that include how to use these sites carefully and keeping in mind that anything you do on the Internet can be viewed by others.

"The 'WWW' at the beginning of a web address doesn't stand for Wyoming Wide Web, it stands for World Wide Web, which means anyone can see your actions on the Internet," Detective Gay said.

By using the information given on many of these user's web pages, Detective Gay demonstrated how to locate what the user looks like, who their friends are, their hobbies, location, full name and can even trace where they live on a detailed map, showing even what the house looks like and directions on how to get there.

Service members who use social networks not only have to be aware of these dangers, but they must not misuse their pages or post inappropriate content.

"It's not illegal to use these networks, but users have to keep in mind that they are not anonymous," said Capt. Julia Muedeking, 90th Space Wing Judge Advocate office.

Airmen have been reported in the past to have posted inappropriate photos of themselves in uniform, and there have been Airmen who have posted "I hate the Air Force." Another specific instance was an Airman who posted photos of the inside of a military helicopter.

"The best advice I can give to users is to know that your commanders are not as unfamiliar to the Internet as you think," Captain Muedeking said. "If you don't want your commander to see it, it probably shouldn't be posted."