By Denise DuBois
Protecting children from Internet bullies and cyber stalking is a high priority and there are two events that are coming up in the community to help parents understand social media and how to keep their children safe online.
On March 6, the Alabama Office of the Attorney General and Phenix City School System will host a community forum at the Professional Development Center, 1700 16th Ave. North. Special agents Jake Frith and Bobby Moore will lead the forum beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET.
“We need to protect our children from straying into the unwholesome areas of the Internet. Knowing how to be act instead of react will help to keep them safe,” said Phenix City Schools Spuerintendent Randy Wilkes.
The topics the two agents will cover include: how quickly children are contacted by non-age appropriate predators, phone apps students are using today and how they work, how parents can be involved in children’s social media life while letting them be independent, indicators a child is a victim, laws pertaining to the cyber world and students and case examples. There will also be a time for questions and answers.
Then on March 19, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes will host a social media awareness speech at the Smiths Station Junior High Auditorium at 6 p.m. ET.
“Social media Awareness is important in today’s society,” said Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland. “With the explosion of cell phone use, we find that a number of Americans, especially teenagers, are living vicariously through their phones. With the onslaught of media apps where the parents are left without control, it’s key that we are educated on the pitfalls we don’t even know we could fall into. The District Attorney is going out of his way to educate the citizens of Lee County. And everyone is involved.”
Hughes has hosted events like this before and one of his talks is available for viewing on Facebook by searching Lee County District Attorney’s Office. The program is called inAPPropriate: Sex, Cell Phones and Social Media.
The Pew Research Center released a study last August that showed one in four Americans harassed online are acquaintances with their attacker.