Today’s youth are more susceptible to potential harm and dangers through online activities. These online activities are accessed through numerous resources including computers, cell phones, tablets and similar devices. With increased use and the development and introduction of new devices for texting, digital photo, video, and internet access, this potential for harm to our youth is growing at an alarming rate.
It is time for our youth, parents, and other adults, associated with the youth in their community, to not only learn about these dangers, but, become as comfortable in the use of this technology as not only our youth; but, just as comfortable as the individual that is using the technology to supplement the child predation industry. The child predation industry is involved in business practices that include, but not limited to, abduction, slave trade, forced prostitution and murder.
Cyber bullying is not only increasing but posing an immediate danger to our youth. We need to identify the definition, the what, the why, and the responsibility we must all take.
While texting is taking center stage among our youth the issue of sexting is increasing at alarming rates. The State of Texas has taken steps to lessen the severity of first offense but the entire laws in place concerning sexting must be understood. The severity that can occur can cause permanent criminal records.
Basic steps can be taken to protect you, your family and the youth you are associated with in all these areas. Learn the basic steps for online safety, digital photo and video dangers, and the basic ins and outs of social networking. We, as parents and adults, must take responsibility for our youth and protect them from the dangers ever present via today’s technology.
To learn more, attend the Child Predation, Social Networking and Sexting Program to be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 at the Henrietta ISD Administration Building. Weldon Floyd, Associate Regional Information Technologist for Texas AgriLife Information Technology will be presenting the program.
Contact Sherri Halsell, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Clay County agent at 538-5042, for more information.