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  • Writer's pictureRev. Carlene Appel-M.Div.

Why you should be spying on your kids | Det. Richard Wistocki |


What is he doing on that phone? How many of you have

asked that same very question to the teens in your life. What the heck are they doing on that phone? My name is Detective Rich Wistocki I've been a police officer for 30 years, my last 22 years with the city of Naperville investigating computer crime and protecting children online.


I'm about to say something that may upset you. If you want to get up and leave or turn off this program I get it. But it takes someone like me to tell it to you to your faces what's going on and here it is. All of you here tonight are responsible for your children. I'm sorry if I just have upset you. But it's true. You see you're not only responsible for your children with their food, clothing, shelter, and education, you-- are responsible for their technology as well. Because if you're not checking their Roblox, their Minecraft, their Musically, their Snapchat their Instagram; if you're not checking contacts, monitoring remotely, having the technology talk with them, somebody else will be. Is that what you want?



You see ladies and gentlemen when we give our children at the ripe old age of 11 this ominous device [holds up a cellphone], it's like giving them the keys to your brand-new Mercedes and going "Sweetheart you can go to Vegas, you can go to Florida go to New York wherever you want to go. And when you come back, mommy and daddy will fill that tank up and you can just go again. But just don't tell us if you did anything wrong. Because you never would do that would you sweetheart?" "No mom."


You see ladies and gentlemen, I travel all over the United States teaching in schools. When we talk about what we are responsible for; when I teach my students I talk to them about their contacts. We talk about verification. That they have to know, before they release any personal information, five things: first-name, last name, where they go to school, their phone number, and where they live. If you can't physically verify what those things are like, Jimmy in my gym class lives there. Sarah from my soccer team lives there, and she plays with her on that team that's a verification. I tell them that everyone else online is a liar. That is your base when you're traversing online.


So let's talk about how you talk to your kids. What is your current technology talk to your kids? Does it go something like this: "If you take bad pictures, if you take bad video, if you tell people where we live, you're gonna be grounded, I'm gonna take your phone away, you're not gonna see the light of day, you're not gonna go out with your friends, and the door is gonna come off the hinges of your bedroom." If you do that, how many of you've done that? When you do that, are your kids going to come to you? No, they won't. So when you have this technology talk with your kids, I'm gonna show you what that should look like.


But first we have to concentrate on one simple foundational premise of the technology talk on what you are responsible for your kids. There is no such thing as privacy for children. Can I get an amen? Yes [It's true]

that you are responsible for your kids. Just because you buy them device, I don't care if Nona or Grandpa bought it. If you bought him that device they don't own it, you allow them to have it. They own nothing because you're responsible. So when we talk about this technology talk, I talk to parents something about what's called the golden ticket.



What the golden ticket says is that you're gonna sit down with your kids and have that technology talk. You're gonna go through their contacts. You're gonna monitor remotely. And you're gonna sit down with them and say, "I saw this guy speaking at the school the other day. I had no idea what was going on in your social media. Listen, if you come to us and if you feel like someone's making you do something you don't want to do, or somebody's making you feel bad about yourself, you need to come to us. If you come to us we're gonna give you that golden ticket. And that golden ticket means

--that we're not going to give you consequences


-we're not gonna ground you

-you're not gonna lose your phone

-we're not gonna keep you from your friends."

Because ladies and gentlemen the average internet predator has 250 victims in their lifetime; 250 and odds are if they're doing something bad to your kid they're doing it to 20 30 others at the same time. So the technology talk is so important.


I've got another question for you. How many of you allow your children to charge their devices in their rooms at night? The common denominator in all my sextortion/Child Exploitation cases is that when the parent allows them to charge their devices in their rooms at night, you're sleeping and they shut the door so you can't hear them. It's not a matter of talking it's typing, reading, and performing with apps like the Chromebook they get from school going in again Google Hangouts, Ovoo, Omegle, Skype, House Party. These are video chat sites that our kids are using and there are two to six people in that chat room while they're in their bedroom.


Remember when we used to play spin-the-bottle on truth or dare? Somebody's basement, the park, wherever, and we were kids. Well our kids are playing truth or dare you know where? They're playing it on their devices in their rooms at night. So when the people in the room say it's your kids turn for the dare- we dare you to flash us. Okay no big deal haha. Three days later that person who was in the room who did a screen capture of what your son or daughter just did: "Hey how do you like your new Instagram account with you flashing and everybody. If you don't give me pictures and videos

every week when I want them this is going out to your entire class. This is gonna go out to everybody you know in your family if you don't give me the pictures and the videos that I want."

And what [can] your kid say "Oh my god! I can't believe it! I have to go my parents! Wait! If I go to my parents [they'll say] 'You're gonna be grounded! We're gonna take your phone away! You're not gonna see the light of day!'




The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has created a fantastic PSA [about this]and what I've just described for you is the new phenomenon and a crime called sextortion. [See PSA on NCMEC website or the video of Rich's TEDTalk]

You are responsible for your children. We need to monitor. We need to talk the technology talk to them. We need to check their contacts because we want to raise great digital citizens and you are responsible for that. Thank you very much.


Detective Rich Wistocki spent over 20 years of his career with the Naperville Police as a Cybercrime Investigator and a key focus became protecting children from online sexual predators who lurk in chat rooms and on sites such as TikTok, Omego, Skype, Instagram, FaceBook, Kik, Roblox, and Fortnite. Predators pose as teens or even younger. They will groom a child even up to 2 yrs. in order to sextort or traffick their victims.

Rich was responsible for getting 2 laws passed in Illinois that protect children and youth from these criminals. He triumphantly caught & arrested over 300 of them and continues crisscrossing the nation training students & their parents to be Netsmart.






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