CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Internet is helping children today to explore new worlds with the touch of their fingertips. But this vast sea of information also includes hidden dangers lurking under the surface. In an effort to protect children while they are online, the West Virginia Department of Education last year launched a pilot project in Cabell, Monongalia and Wirt counties to support cyber safety. On Wednesday, the state Board of Education learned how the project is helping protect children.
"Children today never knew a world without the Internet,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Teaching students, staff and families how best to use the Internet and protect themselves while online are an important step in educating children in the 21st century.”
Efforts to improve parental awareness have included informational sessions in each of the three counties. Events have included student-written and produced videos and skits, such as for Oprah’s “No Phone Zone,” guest speakers from the West Virginia State Police, student information tables at basketball games and seminars on social networking tips for parents.
“Experts tell us parents often don't talk to their children about the Internet because they don't understand it as well as their children,” Paine said. “We want to help parents so they can help their children use the Internet responsibly.”
The proliferation of child predators using the Internet to target children and teenagers has become a crisis in the United States. Experts say kids often disclose a lot of personal information, falsely believing that only other kids will see it. Studies now show that one in seven children will be solicited for sex online in the next year.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.
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