Internet Safety

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

Years ago, parents worried about the man driving down the street offering their children candy. Today, those predators are literally inside one's home with direct access to kids via the Internet.

"It can be anyone and, 9 out of 10 times, it's the last person you think would be involved with something like that," says FBI Supervisory Special Agent Randy Ray.

Ray says chat rooms...and websites like myspace.com, are havens for predators looking for personal information.

"You can put pictures, talk about yourself, where you go to school, your hobbies, your brothers and sisters--put your address there....there's just so much access out there--and it's open to anyone, so these predators will get on there and find out virtually everything they need to know about these children," says Ray.

That's something that terrifies parent Lori Cazel. She's already following the advice of Agent Ray by monitoring her son's internet activity and keeping the computer in a family room, instead of her son's bedroom as well as monitoring e-mails.

"I'm always asking him questions, and I'll sit next to him sometimes and ask him, tell me about this, what is this--and he ask to ask permission before," says Cazel.

The growing problem of internet predators prompted Wittman Post Principal Dr. Georgiann Mckenna to organize an assembly for parents about computer safety.

"Make us aware of what's out there, and what kinds of interventions parents need to do today, that they would not have done in the past," says McKenna.

Mckenna says parents can't use the Internet as a babysitter. Parents need to be involved and informed.

Thursday's general assembly meeting will begin at 6:30 pm at Stephen Mack Middle School in Rockton. Agent Ray will have a presentation and be available to answer questions.


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