November 13, 2006
The internet is the way of the future...but your child's future can be put at risk with a click of the mouse.
Today, one local group spent their morning educating young girls on the dangers lurking online.
According to protectkids.com, one in five children who use computer chat rooms has been approached by a pedophile. And that's just one of many scary statistics the Augusta Chapter of the Links, Inc. are working to change.
"It's frightening all the things that can go wrong on the internet with the youth," said instructor Florida Reed. "So many of our young girls make mistakes---not because they are not well trained, it's that they are very, very innocent and the enemy is very, very dangerous."
At the workshop Smart Girls Make Wise Choices, the Links, Inc. discussed topics like peer pressure, drugs, and the dangers of chat rooms with young women.
"So many of our young girls are being pulled into that dark hole of chat rooms," said Reed.
Mary Levi, a mother of two, is working to educate children on chat room safety.
"The pedophiles--the ones just waiting for the opportunity to prey on a young child because of the inexperience that child may have," Levi said. "There are so many potential dangers, so be careful as you type in information in a chat room because it can always be used against you by the wrong persons."
Both women say parents need to be on the lookout too.
Levi also says parents should also talk openly with their children about the internet. She recommends the website getwisenet.com. The site offers safety tips such as contracts with your kids, establishing rules for internet use, limiting your child's time on the internet, and filtering children's access to certain websites.