By Mark Shuller - Email
LAKEWOOD, OH (FOX19) — In an effort to increase the online safety of Ohio children, Attorney General Richard Cordray has teamed up with schools, parents and local law enforcement to produce Ohio's first Cyber Safety Week, October 3-9. The week will target the dark side of today's technology, including cyber bullying, "sexting" and online predators.
"Many adults are clueless about the rapid changes in social networking and texting, but these mediums are the dominant form of communication for our children," said Cordray. "Without informed guidance from adults, students can easily fall victim to safety risks posed by technology, but it's difficult for us to protect our children from something we don't understand. My office has been working with educators and law enforcement to open up discussions and create solutions at school and home. We intend to collectively focus our attention on those issues during Ohio Cyber Safety Week."
Since January 2009, Cordray's office has held cyber safety demonstrations in schools throughout the state, reaching thousands of children and teachers. As a result of those presentations, Cordray became aware of the following scenarios in Ohio schools:
- A fifth grader said that she is receiving creepy e-mails and it scares her so much that her mom has to sleep in her room.
- A group of students disclosed that a boy has been sending naked pictures of himself for a year and no one told an adult.
- During a presentation, after watching a videotaped account of a real-life student who committed suicide after being bullied, a fifth grader said that he too has felt that way but never acted on it.
"I find these accounts disturbing and far too common. The goal of our first Cyber Safety Week is to drive home the fact that these issues are not just on the news, they are present now in Ohio and must be addressed," said Cordray. "We need parents, teachers and local law enforcement to focus on protecting kids by opening up the lines of communication and teaching them how to handle these situations."
The first annual Cyber Safety Week includes a series of presentations, events and meetings with local schools, parents and law enforcement to address issues specific to each region. The first will be at Garfield Middle School in Lakewood.
For a list of Cyber Safety events or activities, visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/CyberSafetyWeek