WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The United States Attorney’s office and Westfield Police Department will be presenting an informational program, “Keeping Kids Safe Online” at the Tekoa Country Club on Monday, June 12 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The presentation will include a variety of topics, including Social Media 101, digital footprints, gaming, cyberbullying, sexting, sextortion, and internet predators.
The program was developed by Project Safe Childhood (justice.gov/psc), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
“This event was planned back in February as a collaboration between the Westfield Public Schools, US Attorney’s Office, and the Westfield PD,” said Westfield Public Schools Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski. He said that he and Chris Rogers, administrator of student interventions went to the District Attorney’s office in Springfield and ran through the presentation prior to the invitation.
“It’s important for all parents to see this, so they know how to monitor their child’s activity,” Czaporowski said, adding that the online environment has changed so much in the last ten years.
Rogers said the presentation will also inform parents, grandparents and guardians about the newest apps and programs, and what to do if something were to come up and who to report it to.
“Our interest in it is to help. We want to help people understand how to keep your child safe and secure online, and help students understand how to keep themselves safe and secure online,” Rogers said. There will be age-appropriate presentations to 6th graders and 7-8 graders at the Middle Schools the next day.
Project Safe Childhood relies upon the ongoing efforts and relationships between law enforcement agencies, nonprofit entities (including schools), advocacy organizations and many others to protect and defend children against sexual exploitation and abuse.
The Tekoa Country Club is located at 459 Russell Road. The presentation is free to the public, and will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Light appetizers will be provided, and beverages will be available for purchase.