Keeping kids net-smart on the Internet

Keeping kids net-smart on the Internet
By: Arnold Wyrick
CARBONDALE, Ill. - If you're a parent then you already know how difficult it is to keep your kids safe from on-line predators.  But, now there's a new program being taught by the Illinois State Police, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The name of the program is called 'Net Smartz for Kids'.   And it's a very interactive program designed to keep your kids safe while they're on the web. "When you go on-line and you meet somebody you don't know, are they a stranger," asked Illinois State Trooper David Sneed to a room full of 4th graders at Unity Point School in Carbondale.

A resounding,"Yes," filled the room. "Should we talk to those strangers," to which the students replied, "No." And that's how the Net Smartz for Kids program began on Friday afternoon for a group of 4th graders.

Throughout the animated program the kids learned about different characters lurking on the Internet.  Characters like Oogles, Follow-me-Fiona's and Hotheads. "This really helped me to sort out some of the people that like to follow you around on the computer.  It helped me learn about things you should do, and things you shouldn't do on the Internet," says Skyler Milton.

Even when someone sounds like they're okay, on the web your child never really knows if they truly are safe. "When I get on the Internet I make sure it's a safe site, and one that I've been to before.  And if I want to go to another site, I ask my parents first," says Kaley Holue.

Some of the parents whose kids attend Unity Point School have already figured out one sure way to keep their child safe from on-line predators, just don't let them on-line. "But I didn't really want it either because I didn't want to be talking with somebody I didn't even know," says Noah Fulk.