The topic of internet predators, the safety of Facebook, picture posting, children on the internet and how to keep them safe are all hot topics. I am now so paranoid, my kids aren’t allowed on the internet (at ages 6 and 4 ½ y.o.) even though they are technologically savvy (surprisingly so!). We are constantly telling them, ok, you can play on the computer….but only go to these 5 websites….and don’t click on anything else….don’t talk to anyone….don’t “friend” anyone…and don’t tell anyone your name!! Or where you live!!
That sounds like great fun, doesn’t it? Play the game, don’t interact with anyone!
And the paranoia doesn’t stop there!
Not only do I rarely post any kind of pictures of my kids online, I get fully irritated with people who post pictures of them (otherwise adored family members who post without my permission!).
What do I think is going to happen?
I don’t know! Maybe some perv will become so enamored with my child, they’ll stalk us with their keen intellect and computer skill so they can kidnap them!… Hey! It could happen! Stop snickering!
But I don’t know, is that possible? Can people do that??
Well, one way to find out is to take a class! And it just so happens that St. Joseph’s of York on Kingston Rd does just that but get this: it’s FREE! Yes, you read that right! F-R-E-E.
So I contacted the St.Joe’s IT team and Thomas Steele was kind enough to respond. I asked him a few questions so you wouldn’t have to! Here’s the deal:
The seminar is on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at St.Joseph’s Catholic Church. The address is 2935 Kingston Road, York, PA 17402 so you can get your online directions and whatnot! Once there, you’ll look for the St.Francis Meeting Room. Again, this is FREE to whoever would like to come, as a ministry the church is offering. Now Mr. Steele said the most they had ever had was 30 people and that internet safety is the most popular topic, so the potential is there for it to be crowded. You’ll need to RSVP so they know how many people are coming! That you can do at: firstname.lastname@example.org
When I asked Mr. Steele what the seminar included, he said, “…our feedback has been that parents are looking for specifics and day-to-day application such as a tutorial of Facebook itself, its dangers, and many traps and loopholes children use to circumvent settings (willingly and unwillingly) put in place for their protection. We will be going as in-depth as possible as long as time permits and it is relevant to the audience.”
Every year, they choose a theme, so this year it will be “Supporting a Positive Online Presence.” I asked Mr. Steele what would be covered that was specific to the theme and he responded, “We are trying to put a positive spin on this topic. ‘Internet Safety’ has a very negative connotation to it and, while it is important and sometimes necessary to know the dangers and horror stories, it tends to fall on deaf ears. This new approach talks about the TO DO instead of what NOT to do.”
The goal, Mr. Steele says, is to help parents learn of the things they need to help their children avoid the evils of the Internet while benefitting and growing from the good.
Isn’t that what I said? Earlier, about letting my children use the internet? Huh, well, that’s what I meant. Obviously, the IT team at St. Joe’s has a better grip on this than I do, so you might want to go to them for more techy-type info relating to your kids!