October 21, 2013
Attorney General Kane partners with local law enforcement to educate youth about Internet, social media safety
HARRISBURG - Joined by the Bethlehem Police Department, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane and Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli today spoke to tenth-grade students at Liberty High School in Bethlehem about exercising caution online when using social media as part of her office's Operation Safe Surf presentation.
"Social media and the Internet create a virtual playground for predators to profile and groom young people in order to exploit or harm them," Attorney General Kane said.
"Online predators are extremely manipulative. They will often pressure victims into feeling sorry for them, or attempt to blackmail them to get photos or personal information," she said. "By educating students about what to look for, we can help them identify a potential predator and report it to their parents and teachers."
Attorney General Kane's presentation included powerful images to demonstrate that people are not always who they seem online. With images of alluring teenagers displayed behind her, she told the students they may think they are starting a friendship with or dating a person their own age, but that might not be the case.
Next, images were displayed of middle-aged predators arrested by the Office of Attorney General for traveling to meet minors for sex, or for distributing photos they tricked youngsters into sending to them. Attorney General Kane noted the glaring contrast between the images of seemingly harmless teenagers and dangerous predators, which were compiled from cases the Office of Attorney General has prosecuted where predators attempted to groom and later lure young people into meeting them in person.
"The Operation Safe Surf program fosters a mutually beneficial relationship between law enforcement and students," Attorney General Kane said. "We educate them about predatory tactics we have seen firsthand, and they educate us about new methods we may not know about."
Attorney General Kane thanked Liberty High School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy for the opportunity to meet with the students, and urged them to speak out if they suspect a predator has approached them.
Suspected Internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General's Child Predator Section by calling the Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044.
Since its inception, Operation Safe Surf program has been presented to hundreds of thousands of students across the Commonwealth. Schools and community groups interested in materials, speakers or presentations can contact the Office of Attorney General's Education and Outreach Unit at 1-800-525-7642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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