The Jim Thorpe Area High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) in cooperation with the office of Pennsylvania State Attorney General Tom Corbett held a presentation at the high school last week about an educational program called "Operation Safe Surf".
The program, consisting of discussions and an educational video, was presented by Janene M. Holter who is a Senior Supervisory Special Agent; Education and Outreach Program from the Office of the Attorney General.
Operation Safe Surf is aimed at educating kids, parents, and schools about the dangers presented by today's high-tech computer and cell phone society and the ways to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
In the pre-internet society, parents were cautious of who their children might meet up with when they were away from the safety of their home in the outside world but now, in this day of social networking, the situation has in some ways been completely reversed.
Now, right in their own home or even their own bedrooms, concerned parents are weary of the possibility that seemingly innocent contacts between their children and strangers claiming to be simply "other youngsters" looking for a new friend could possibly be encounters with much older individuals with more sinister intent.
In one example given during the video shown at the program, it was noted that after some children had befriended a new "supposed" 13 or 14 year old friend who they then confided in for extended periods of time, even after it somehow became apparent that they were indeed much older individuals, some children had by then developed such a strong personal bond with them that they continued the association anyway.
Just what can parents do to try to counter this new high-tech danger threat of online predators ?
Operation Safe Surf seeks to educate parents and children about the things that they can do to help make their kid's time spent online as safe as possible.
One thing that the program stresses is that it is okay to ask your children questions about their time spent online, such as , what sites they visit, and who do they communicate with.
It notes that it is extremely important that their children do not give out personal information to any total strangers regardless of what age they claim to be.
So, talk with your child, ask them questions about their internet activities. You'll be "being a parent" and not a pest by asking your kids these things.
Anyone who desires additional information or possibly thinks that they may have such a problem can get more information about Operation Safe Surf and other similar programs by going to www.attorneygeneral.gov to see internet safety tips for kids and their parents.