If your kids are on the internet, you have to worry. Predators use it to try to lure children into meeting in real life. We caught up with a group trying to help parents learn about the problem. The Child Internet Safety Program's 11 local volunteers are technology professionals who say their program is free for parents who want help protecting their kids online.
On a beautiful Tuesday, some Army Corps of Engineers employees spent their lunch break indoors. It was an hour-long training program that didn't have to do with their jobs.
"It's an introduction to the dangers that children can be exposed to on the internet," explained Rudy LoMonaco, the program's chairman. "The predators that are watching chat rooms and trying to lure your child, through the internet, through the chat rooms into meeting with them and getting to see them and getting in touch with them in person."
"I have two daughters," said Corps of Engineers employee Gordon Simmons. "No matter how smart you think they are or how much you watch over them, you know, technology's changing quicker. And the more you can do to keep on it, it's a parent's responsibility to raise kids right, stay on top of it and find out what's going on."
The program's been well received at the Corps of Engineers, but they point out it's not just federal groups that are interested in this. Any civil or private or church group that wants to contact them is welcome to give it a try.
"I would recommend that parents think of the computer like they think of the family car keys," advised LoMonaco. "Before you would give those car keys to your teenager, there's a lot of rules, there's a lot of instructions that go with those keys. Think of the computer in the same way."
Since today's children have grown up with computers, it's free advice parents can use. If you'd like to have the Child Internet Safety Program work with your organization, contact:
912.352.1600, ext. 103