CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – There are an estimated 88 million children online today according to the organization safesurfin.org. This group was in Chicopee on Saturday to teach parents about dangers on the internet and how they can protect their kids.
“This isn’t a job that the police can do by themselves, this is a parenting issue and parents have to get involved,” said Ronald Porter of the Safe Surfin Foundation.
There are more than 40,000 chat rooms where children can meet predators. “Education of the children turns out to be the way for them to recognize when predators are after them and to get out of that facebook situation or get out of any of those areas that they get in,” said Porter.
Kids are starting to use the computer and internet at even younger ages and it’s impossible to know for sure who’s on the other side of the computer.
Teresa Oxley is a parent in Springfield she said, “It’s scary out there sometimes you never know what or who’s going to see what you’re doing, so you always have to be prepared to watch your children and make sure they’re safe when they are on the internet.”
Teresa makes sure that her daughter Alyssa is aware that there are predators out there and she’s passing that message on. “I would tell them to be sure who they’re talking to and stuff,” said Alyssa Oxley.
It’s not just on the computer either, parents sometimes forget about other forms of sending information. “[Parents] buy [their kids] really great cell phone and say here’s your new cell phone and what they’re not always cognizant of is that the cell phone is a computer, said Lt. Katie Collins Kalbaugh of the Chicopee Fire Department.
Ronald from SafeSurfin.org tells parents to make sure kids know to never give identifying information like a full name or address. Also, he reminds people that filters and passwords are not foolproof… there are ways kids can get around them, so education is always key.