New Program to Teach Parents Internet Safety

Filed under: In The News

Donna Rice Hughes informs parents about Internet safety. Credit: Enough Is Enough

Hope Witsell committed suicide, becoming the nation's second death clearly linked to "sexting."

Last June, Witsell, 13, photographed her breasts and forwarded the photo to a boy she liked. The text soon made its way around the school. Subjected to the taunts of schoolmates, Witsell hanged herself in September. Her parents knew little of what their daughter was going through when she took her life.

Parenting in a Web 2.0 world can be a confusing mishmash of social networking, cell phone texting, instant messaging and online gaming that can expose your child to an array of Internet dangers unknown in decades past. And while many parents use technology, few are sure how to parent their technologically savvy kids.

Taking aim at the Internet and its many access points, the organization Enough Is Enough widens its reach this month to bring its tools of empowerment to parents nationwide through "Internet Safety 101."


The four-part DVD and workbook package incorporates Rules 'N Tools, a set of guidelines for parents and their kids. The DVD guides parents to address three major areas of concern: pornography, predators and the growing, socially interactive Web. (Disclosure: AOL is a sponsor of "Internet Safety 101: Empowering Parents.")

The program is based on the in-person program facilitated by Donna Rice Hughes, the president and CEO of Enough Is Enough. The organization will work with PTA groups nationally to distribute the DVD and workbook.

"There is nothing like it on the market," Rice Hughes says about the DVD and workbook in a telephone interview with ParentDish. "Most of the Internet safety programs are more child-focused. "

Along with instructive presentations by Rice Hughes, the DVD features interviews with teens and experts in the field of Internet safety: A mother reveals the devastating effects of pornography on her young son; Alicia Kozakiewicz tells of her abduction at the age of 13 by an online "friend"; and an imprisoned former teacher discusses his life as an online predator.

"Our goal is to protect kids," Rice Hughes says. "That said, what we have found when people have actually gone through the program, they understand their children are not immune. That is what it takes to get parents out of apathy and to take action."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.