Teaching teens safety on the Internet
CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - Hundreds of teenagers and their mothers gathered on the John A. Logan campus on Saturday to learn about how to stay safe on the Internet.
That was the keynote topic during the 18th Southern Illinois Women's Teen Conference.
"It's just a master manipulation process these groomers and pedophiles use to bait these children," said an FBI Special Agent with the Southern Illinois Cyber Crimes Task Force. He cannot be identified to protect his work with the agency.
That's why the FBI says that education is key to keeping teenage girls from falling prey to a sexual predator online.
"Kids these age are very naive. The statistics we see show that over 50% of the victims of online sexual exploitation are between the grades of 7th-9th grade."
And it's not always that racy picture your child may share with a friend that attracts a pedophile. It can be as innocent as a school picture posted on a social networking site.
"I put some pictures on Facebook of me and my friends and our school," said Olivia Priest of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. "And I'm on the cheerleading team and dance team. And I put some of those pictures of me and my friends in our uniforms on Facebook. So I'm going to go ahead and remove them."
That's just one of the things the teens and their moms learned that a sexual predator needs to be able to track down where your child lives.
They also learned that you can never be sure you're not being targeted by someone online, unless you know exactly who you're talking too.
"You know anyone can be one. You're not really aware of who it is no matter what they look like. No matter who they are they could be a pedophile," said Jenny Edmonds of St. Petersburg, Florida.
And the FBI warned parents and teens about the dangers a webcam can pose for your child.
"If it's got a built-in camera make sure the computer is folded down or the lens is covered up. If it has a detachable webcam unplug it. Because there are ways to turn the camera on without you knowing you're being watched," said the FBI Special Agent.
"Less than four-percent of the kids abducted by a stranger make it home alive."
The teens and their mothers also learned about self-defense and self-protection during the conference.
And how to deal with Cyber bullying.
There were also vendors on hand to teach the teens and moms about healthy eating and make-up application techniques.
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