It’s summer and children are playing at the Boys and Girls Club of Houston. The playground has its dangers of occasional bullying or a scraped knee.
But playing on the internet can involve much more insidious risks.
“We’ve already arrested 110 child predators who chatted with someone online and then showed up to sexually assault what they thought was a 13-year-old child.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says his office is partnering with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and distribute educational videos to parents and teens.
“The information can empower parents in three main ways. It can help them understand the dangers children face online. It can assist them in opening a dialogue with their children to discuss these challenges. And three, it can help them spot ways in which they can understand the warnings they may be facing because of predators.”
Comcast will carry the video in all major markets in Texas and some mid-size markets. Customers who have on-demand access can view it for free. Non-Comcast customers can access the video on the attorney general’s website.
Leticia Rodriguez says she didn’t realize how many risks there are on the internet. She has two sons and has taken steps to monitor their internet usage.
“We have tried preventive measures by putting our computer into the family room, where it’s visual. So we can see everything that they’re on at all times. And then again we have an open relationship with our boys, so we’re very open about talking about those things.”
For several years the attorney general’s office has aggressively tracked and prosecuted online predators. Abbott says this cable and video campaign is about preventing the predators from ever reaching kids in the first place.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
This is one of the videos from the attorney general’s website:
Internet Chase Video
So why are some teens so trusting of people they meet online? For many students there is a sense that what happens online can’t hurt them. Unfortunately, we are finding that many teens are posting personal information in chat rooms and on social networking sites making them easy prey for child predators. In this video, provided from the i-Safe curicculum, you can see how what happens when one student finds out the hard way that you can’t trust what people tell you online. Click the image to watch the video.