Office of the Attorney General
New Statewide Partnership To Increase Cybersafety Education

Press Release Date:  Thursday, October 09, 2008  
Contact Information:  Allison Gardner Martin
Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)
 


Attorney General Jack Conway, Kentucky Child Now and the Kentucky Department of Education today announced a new partnership that will expand statewide cybersafety education efforts and teach adults to be online models, mentors and monitors. 

Each agency has independently conducted its own education efforts and training programs to teach students, parents, teachers, law-enforcement officers, and prosecutors about the dangers that exist online.  The groups have agreed to coordinate their resources to reach more Kentuckians.

“Social-networking sites are the new malls for Kentucky kids, and parents must know who their children are socializing with, not just in the real world, but the virtual world as well,” General Conway said. 

General Conway created a CyberCrimes Unit in his office that is solely dedicated to investigating online crimes and training law-enforcement officers throughout the Commonwealth about how to preserve and process digital forensics.  His office also conducts cybersafety workshops in schools.

The three-year education initiative will kick off  with a statewide conference on November 24 and 25 at the Lexington Downtown Hotel and Conference Center (formerly the Radisson), 369 W. Vine Street.  The conference will provide adults with the strategies they need to help keep children safe online.

“Without appropriate safeguards, giving a web-enabled cell phone or computer to a young person is the equivalent of sending them on a trip around the world, all expenses paid, unchaperoned,” said Doris Settles, director of program support at Kentucky Child Now.

Workshops at the conference, which is open to adults throughout the state, will include presentations from MySpace and Facebook.  Ernie Allen, formerly of Louisville, who is the executive director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will be the keynote speaker at the conference.  His organization will also teach breakout sessions.

The Kentucky Department of Education teaches students and staff not only to use technology, but to use it safely and responsibly.  “We do a tremendous job, but we can’t do it alone.  We need adults to plug into their children’s lives. This isn’t just an education issue – this is a Kentucky issue,” said David Couch, associate commissioner for education technology.

For information about the conference or to register for the event, visit www.ag.ky.gov or www.kychildnow.org. Cost per registrant is $100 and EILA continuing-education credits will be offered for school system employees.   Organizers expect several hundred parents, teachers, investigators and prosecutors to attend.

The conference will be followed by regional workshops that will be announced at a later date.

Kentucky Child Now works to ensure that Kentucky’s youth have access to the fundamental resources they need to succeed in life – The Five Promises 1) caring adult; 2) safe places; 3) a healthy start 4) marketable skills; 5) and opportunities to serve.