Stranger danger

Can school websites put students at risk?

KidNews

Just for kids

February 18, 1999|By Lou Carlozo | Lou Carlozo,Chicago Tribune

Imagine that an anonymous phone caller tells your parents he saw your face while viewing child pornography on the Internet. Your parents call the police and learn that your head shot was copied from the most innocent of places: your school Web site.

As far as anyone knows, this has never occurred. But it's technologically possible, so parents in the Chicago area and elsewhere want schools to limit what they put on Web sites.

When KidNews learned that parents in Lockport, Ill. fought to keep kids' names and photos off their school district's Web site, we wondered whether adults had gone too far.

A concern is that child molesters could search the Internet for victims. ``You don't know who lives on the next block,'' said Lockport parent Beverly Carlock, who has a 7-year-old daughter. ``If that person has a face and a name, they could easily find your child. ... I'm going to fight for statewide guidelines.''

Last month, the Avondale school district near Detroit pulled student photos off the Internet after parents expressed fears.

In Illinois, there are at least 600 school Web sites. Some schools post group pictures without student names. Others display pictures with students' first names and the first initial of the last name. But few, if any, post a full name.

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