March 24, 2009

Chesapeake, VA Parents Learn About Internet Safety

Parents learn about Internet safety

Wavy-TV 10

Updated: Tuesday, 24 Mar 2009, 5:18 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 23 Mar 2009, 11:33 PM EDT

CHESAPEAKE, Va - In 2009 technology makes the world accessible to virtually everyone with access to a computer or a cell phone. Internet access does not exclude children. So parents went to Western Branch High School for a lesson their children have likely already learned.

Patty Chesson, told her children and step-children, "...know a lot more than we do, and we just thought it would be a good thing to try and keep up."

Western Branch High School PTA Vice President Larry Coleman said, "It's kind of the case that there's so much access to things that are dangerous, that parents need to have some handles to deal with it."

Local PTAs teamed up to sponsor experts that could break through cyberwalls between children and adults. In some materials for the non-profit advocacy group "Enough is Enough," the internet is described as a land where adults are immigrants and children are natives.

Cris Clapp of "Enough Is Enough®" told parents children don't perceive dangers way adults perceive them. "A lot of them are talking to strangers online. It's just one of the things I want you to be thinking about because they don't think of these people as being strangers or being predators," Clapp explained. Clapp went on to tell the audience that 1 of 7 teens online receives a sexual solicitation. She added that 7 of 10 teens will encounter pornography online. And Clapp told parents, "Our children are bombarded with sexual images. They're being bombarded with images that are not necessarily healthy."

Parents said they went to the forum because they're aware there are dangers.
Scott Greiling has three children. He told, "We've talked to them and they know they can't talk to anyone that's on a game. They've lost privileges cause they tried that once. So we do set rules."

Coleman said he was interested in using technology to protect his kids. Coleman explained he'd like, "internet tools, software that says I can download this on my kids' computer, I can put it on a home computer and kind of watch where they're going and know where they're going."

"Enough is Enough" encourages technology and conversation to protect young people. "Really if you're just sitting down and saying what are you doing online? Why don't you show me what this whole web world is about for you, your kid's going to be much safer online," Clapp said.

A detective from the Chesapeake Police Department, a family counselor, a local computer security expert, and a WBHS graduate/Old Dominion University student were also part of a panel to address questions and concerns about internet safety.

View the full story and accompanying news video here