In Oct. 23-29 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
During last week's Partners in Prevention Parent Night at the middle school, the topic of discussion centered around Internet safety, more specifically online sexual predators, cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking.
Kathrina Riley with the Regional Victim Services Program in Somerset gave a presentation to those in attendance, implementing text message shorthands at the beginning to get the audience involved in her discussion.
Riley presented an online conversation between a man from Springfield, Tenn. and a Perverted Justice decoy in Bowling Green, which he thought was a teenage female. In the conversation, Riley noted how the content became more explicit as the offender tried to coerce the decoy into meeting him.
According to Riley, the offender was convicted in Kentucky on Oct. 1 of this year.
She noted that most online victims were ages 13 and up with history of physical and sexual abuse and were often troubled with high levels of disputes with parents.
Riley talked about the characteristics of online perpetrators, saying that 60 percent of them are explicit about their sexual intentions with the victim and that 5 percent of meetings with the victim involved some type of violence. Three percent of these meetings end in an abduction, according to statistics presented by Riley.
She also talked about a problem that is being seen online, cyber-bullying. Riley said that online bullying consisted the use of e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, pagers, cell phones or other forms of information technology to deliberately harass, threaten or intimidate someone.
This type of bullying includes making threats and sending provocative insults or racial or ethnic slurs, among other despicable acts.
Another issue that Riley touched on was cyber-stalking. This new form of stalking uses the Internet to obtain information and send harassing messages and stalk the whereabouts of the victim, she said.
At the close of her presentation, Riley gave out some tips to for parents to help keep children safe. Some of these tips include establishing rules for the use of technology and learning about the parental monitoring and restriction software, among other tips.
At the conclusion of Riley's presentation, those in attendance had a meal and talked among one another for a while.
The Partners in Prevention regularly have parent nights each month concerning topics that concern the youth of today, according to Donita Lawless, grants projects director.
Russell County Partners in Prevention is an anti-drug coalition that was created out of the desire to see the abuse of substances in Russell County, especially among youth, reduced.
The coalition began in five years ago with the formation of a Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Local Board.
From there, the Partners in Prevention has grown and we now operate from two grants: a Kentucky ASAP state grant, and a Drug-Free Communities federal grant.
To contact Partners in Prevention concerning upcoming parent nights call 270-343-6247.