New cybercrime training teach parents to protect children

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Montgomery (WTVY)- A new online safety program is aimed at adults with the belief they may not know how to protect their children from predators.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announces a cyber crime safety program aimed at educating adults. Photo from February 22, 2018.

Cyber safety training will be conducted by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall with the assistance of the state school superintendent’s office.

“Nothing is more precious than our children and a well-informed parent is the best defense for a child from online threats. My office will provide training to parents about online risks confronting children every day as well as ways to become involved in their social media activities while giving them the space to be independent,” said Marshall.

His office earlier this month unveiled a new cyber crime lab that will be used, in part, to combat illegal activity targeting children.

Interim Alabama Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson admits he doesn’t have sufficient knowledge to monitor his grandchildren’s online activity and believes he isn’t alone.

“If we can give parents information that would be able to screen (activity) it would minimize (online dangers),” Richardson said.
There are apps that allow anonymous postings on social media accounts that can be harmful while other apps let children hide online activity. The biggest fear, though, remains the threat of physical harm including sex crimes.

Wendy Arnold of Sylacauga is passionate about online safety and recently taught parents how to set up fake online social media accounts for demonstration purposes.

“It was alarming to see how quickly they could set up an account as a young girl and instantly got hits from grown men.”

Marshall believes parents have a desire to patrol their children’s online activity while allowing them to be independent but lack sufficient knowledge.

“We were taught don't take candy from a stranger yet in the digital media age of cell phones and computers strangers can reach directly to your children without parental intervention.

“My office will also work with the State Department of Education and the makers of smartphone applications to develop policies that address child safety and security issues before they start.

Furthermore, cybercrime experts from my office will provide training to school administrators and faculty on how to preserve digital evidence and when to contact law enforcement,” Marshall said.

Training sessions will be announced. Additional information can be obtained from the attorney general’s office. It can be reached at 334-242-7300.