Protecting Kids From The Internet
It's a scary thought. One in five of Nebraska kids will be contacted by a sexual predator. Many of them while they're sitting at their home computer. It's a serious problem facing our children– and State Attorney Jon Bruning kicked off an aggressive statewide campaign Wednesday to do something about it. The Internet can be educational, but it can also be a scary place. We spoke with a Lincoln woman with a chilling story. She's a parent who always had a close eye on the computer at home. She even had her daughters password. But a sexual predator still got through and turned her little girl's life upside down. This lincoln mother doesn't want to be identified to protect her daughter. She found out her fourteen year-old daughter was talking to a predator disguising himself as a fourteen-year-old boy. When her daughter found out he was really an adult male. “She was terrified. At the time she was sleeping in the basement. But, she wouldn't sleep downstairs, because, he had her address.” The predator was from New York state where he is now serving ten years behind bars. At Pound Middle School, many kids have Internet access. The Attorney General gave a special presentation to the kids. It started out as just another fun assembly, until they where shown what a predator looks like. Sergeant Scott Christensen, with the Nebraska State Patrol, portrays a kid online to track predators like these. Scott says, “It lasts 49 minutes from the time they contact us to the time they show up to have sex with who they believe is one of our children.” Officers give parent these tips to keep their kids safe. Never put a computer in your child's room. Put it in an open area where you can see what they're working on. And, they say, probably the most important tip to remember, is talk to your child about potential dangers. And talk to other parents about what's going on with their kids. It's what helped this mom catch the predator before it went any further. She says, “I noticed some long distance phone calls on our bill. And then I found out some information from another parent.” Sergeant Christensen says one of the reasons kids don't talk to their parents about their Internet use is they are afraid the computer will be taken away. So, he says if you are open with you child about your intentions they will be more likely to talk to you.