Free workshop highlights dangers lurking on Internet

First Posted: 1/15/2009

LUMBERTON - Want to find out everything you need to know about the funny-named Web sites that have your children glued to the computer for hours, and how to protect your children from child predators who stalk the Internet?
Those Web sites and more will be covered during an Internet safety session at Lumberton High School auditorium on Tuesday. The free event begins at 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Kendra Manning, executive director of Horizon Point Child Advocacy Center, helped organize the event. She said information will be shared at the meeting that can help parents protect their children from unseen - but very real - dangers.
“There are so many online predators out to harm children,” Manning said. “Parents need to be aware of the different social networking sites and be more attentive of what kids are doing while they are online.”
A representative from Attorney General Roy Cooper's office will present an Internet safety video and hand out resource guides. The presentation will also include information about other online dangers, including exposure to sexually explicit materials.
According to a national survey, one in every seven children received an unwanted sexual solicitation online during 2006.
Law enforcement officials and child safety experts report that child predators are lurking in Internet chat rooms and sites where children play online games.
The predators also surf popular networking sites like MySpace and Xanga. Xanga is a free Web-based service that features weblogs, photoblogs, videoblogs, audioblogs and social networking profiles. The site is popular among teenagers who commonly use them as personal journals.
“Some children may know more about computers and the Internet than their parents, but parents know more about the ways of the world,” Cooper said in a statement. “We're meeting with parents across the state to help them learn about practical steps they can take to keep their children safer online.”
Manning said she got the idea for a local workshop when she stumbled across a link to the state Attorney General's Office.
“I was retrieving information about child abuse when I saw the different types of programs they had available,” Manning said. “I think this is something that is needed, considering all the new networking sites that have been created in recent years.”
The event is sponsored by the Horizon Point Child Advocacy Center and Comprehensive Treatment Services Program.

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