Kids safe in cyber space?

FAYETTEVILLE The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department and Methodist University are sponsoring a series of internet safety meetings for parents and students at high schools around the county.

The internet safety seminar is about educating parents, making students aware of the dangers of internet and cell phone abuse.

"I want to get some useful information about the things we don't know," parent Denise Rodgers said.

At Tuesday night's meeting, parent Jacquline Johnson said she had a tough time answering questions about her child's internet use.

"The questions, the sex, meeting someone you never met, nudity," she said.

Her 14-year-old daughter Rochelle Johnson answered a similar survey with no trouble, because she said she's heard it before in school.

From social networking to cell phone texting, exchanging sexually explicit pictures and messages --it's what children do and their parents don't know that can get them into trouble, even arrested for sex crimes.

"They are flabbergasted," Cyber Investigator Sgt. Greg Mills said. "They can't believe their kids are doing things like this or they will try and cover it up or they don't see any harm in it, it's just kids sending messages to kids or pictures to kids."

And Mills says don't think for an instant that your child is immune.

"You have the young girls sending nude pictures to their boyfriends the boyfriend get mad at the girlfriend and sends it to everybody and the girls don't realize where these photos can go to," he said.

Barely a handful of students and parents showed up for the seminar at E.E. Smith High School, but for those who came, it was a learning experience.

As far as attendance goes this was not a big hit, but organizers are disheartened. They've planned eight more safety seminars at schools around the county in the coming weeks that will start at 7 p.m. They say they hope the crowds grow as their message spreads.

List of seminar locations

    Terry Sanford HS on Sept. 28, 2010
    Westover HS on Oct. 12, 2010
    Grays Creek HS on Oct. 26, 2010
    Douglas Byrd HS on Nov. 09, 2010
    South View HS on Nov. 30, 2010
    Jack Britt HS on Jan. 11, 2011
    Pine Forest HSon Jan. 25, 2011
    Cape Fear HS on Feb. 08, 2011
    71st HS on Feb. 22, 2011

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