United States Attorney for northern Iowa Matt M. Dummermuth is scheduled to speak about Internet safety to middle school students in Cherokee today.
Dummermuth has created a presentation to caution students and teachers about Internet predators who seek to sexually exploit children.
Noting that the Internet has no geographic boundaries, Dummermuth emphasised that every child using the Internet is exposed to online dangers: "Victims of Internet child exploitation do come from big cities and small towns alike- towns like Elgin, West Union and Waucoma."
"While investigation and prosecution of child exploitation crimes will continue to be a top priority in the Northern District of Iowa, prosecutions are not enough. We all must work to educate children about the dangers lurking on the Internet. Children should be taught to be safe on the Internet. By following simple rules, young Internet users can greatly reduce the chance they will be victimised, " said Dummermuth. These rules include:
* Don't post your picture online; it can be copied or changed.
* Don't give out personal information on line ( name, age, birth date, address, telephone number or school.)
* Don't respond to anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable - tell a parent.
* Do not agree to keep secrets with an online friend- especially if you are asked to keep secrets from your parents.
* Do not meet online friends in person unless you are with a parent.
* Remember that people can lie online and predators often pretend to be kids.
Dummermuth said this week's presentation is among the first of many that will be made by his office across Northern Iowa.
Presentations are being made as part of the United States Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood Initiative. Project Safe Childhood is a joint effort of federal, state and local law enforcement, along with community leaders, designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www. projectsafechildhood.gov.