Thursday, 19 April 2007 01:27

Amador County Parents are Concerned about Their Children Using The Internet

slide2 Parents have become increasingly wary of letting their children use the internet as internet sex crimes targeting children have been on the rise. Locally, Amador County has also encountered these crimes. More recently in December the Sheriff’s Office arrested Richard Phillip Davidson, 48, of Pioneer after they received reports of a sexual predator trying to contact children via the internet

Davidson was charged with committing lewd acts on a fifteen year old child; oral copulation of a child under the age of sixteen, furnishing a controlled substance and being armed in the commission of a felony. With internet safety becoming increasingly more important the District Attorney’s Office along with the Sheriff’s Office has headed up an effort to educate parents and educators about protecting children from online exploitation and abuse and have scheduled Project Safe Childhood. The event is open to the public and will be held May 1st at 6:30pm at the BOS chambers in the County Administration Center.

slide7 The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney General’s Office will be making a presentation to attendees regarding internet crimes against children. Sheriff Martin Ryan said, “Based on my previous experience with the department of justice where we did a lot of work with internet child predators, the problem is a huge one.” District Attorney Todd Riebe said, “They do these presentations in their district. I heard the Us Attorney McGregor Scott on the radio a couple of weeks ago, and I said ‘you know what I need to bring them here’.”  Sheriff Ryan points out, “It is occurring on a daily basis where offenders are targeting our kids and utilizing their own skills as con people to be able to develop relationships with children over the internet and victimize them either over the internet or in the worst case scenario with the children going to meet with the offenders.” Reibe added, “The days where child molesters would pull up along side a kid and offer them candy and shove them in the back seat of a car, although it happens it is very rare, now perpetrators use the computer. It’s much more common than you would think.” That’s why, DA Reibe emphasizes, parents need to be aware and prepared.

slide8 “Parents need to have these tips. If they’re anything like me their computer skills are far outmatched by their children’s and they need to be aware of what is out there and how you can prevent it. You need to be vigilant of what your kids are up to.” Project Safe Childhood will provide ways and ideas for parents to do just that. Sheriff Martin Ryan commented that, “One of the making goals of the (event) we are going to put on is to attempt to hard the target, as I like to say, and to give parents and children the tools they need to protect themselves while they are on line.” Riebe states, “This whole thing is about giving parents tips for monitoring the kid’s computer use and also ways they can safe guard against perpetrators getting access to children. Some of it is technological. (Like) software programs they can purchase. Also, (advice on) if they do notice something is happening that seems to be inappropriate what they can do.” Riebe says the threat is very real for parents and children. “It doesn’t matter whether your living in Sacramento or Amador with computers everything is accessible; everyone is accessible.” Ryan added, “We are pleased that the US Attorneys Office and other law enforcement agencies in the community are coming together to put this on for members of our community.” Project Safe Childhood will be held May 1st at 6:30pm at the BOS chambers in the new Administration Center.