Parents, Kids Hear Expert Warn of Internet Dangers

Post a Comment » Written on March 19th, 2009     
Filed under: News
GREENSBORO, NC (March 19, 2009) – A Greensboro police corporal who works undercover on online crimes against minors was the featured speaker at a community-wide Internet Safety Seminar sponsored by Trinity Covenant Church on Sunday night.

Williams spoke to raise awareness about the hazards of the Internet for children and ways to teach safe and healthy habits for parents and teens online.

Donna Mann, a volunteer working with the church’s middle school students, organized the event. She teaches the students to communicate their faith through current technology, by posting short films on YouTube and through their Stuck In The Middle TV (SITMTV). The site includes video and blog postings about various topics.

Mann came up with the idea for the seminar after some of the students’ videos were somehow linked to “risqué” online postings. She decided that helping youth protect themselves on the Internet was a better solution than limiting their expression of faith.

“We know we can’t shield our kids from pornography and predators and the hazards of the Internet, short of throwing the computer out of the window,” said Mann.

More than 100 parents and teens listened to Williams’ presentation. The corporal said that his experience has led him to believe that “three out of four children have had unwanted exposure to explicit pictures, and three out of five children that go to chat rooms will receive a sexual solicitation or approach.”

Williams emphasized that the communication between parents and their children is the first and best line of defense in protecting their children. “If you don’t take anything away from what I tell you tonight, learn right now: you two have to talk,” Williams’ stated.

Corporal Williams offered these further suggestions:
•    Know where your children go online and go there yourself. If that is where your children are, it’s where the predators are also.
•    Set clear rules for being online at home and away. Keep your home computer in a common area.
•    Parents should set up a social network profile on sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
•    “Pay attention to a child’s cell phone – you have children that carry cell phones 24 hours a day, so the children have more access to them and of course the bad guys will have more access to the children.”
•    “Be prepared to talk with your kids, because many of them have already seen too much.”

Williams was encouraged by the large group, which he said was the largest he has addressed. Two local television stations covered the meeting. Click here for the Fox News story and video.

“Trinity Church offered this event to the community as a ministry of awareness, to help parents and teens learn to live in an online culture without feeling an unnecessary sense of fear about being online,” said Kevin Kasai, director of church programming. “The strong response suggested how important this was to parents and teens alike.”

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