By Keeli Parkey
The Unicoi County School System is providing an educational opportunity for the parents and guardians of students, as well as the community at large, next week.
On Monday, Jan. 29, representatives of the Department of Homeland Security will present a program on the dangers of online environments beginning at 6 p.m. at the Unicoi County High School auditorium. According to Director of Schools John English, the presentation will showcase Project iGuardian and how children and adults can use it to keep young people safe from online predators.
“The (Unicoi County Board of Education) and I had the opportunity to see this presentation at a conference this summer and it was very informative as far as the different ways that technology and online types of things can turn bad really quick for our kids without them even realizing,” English said. “It was extremely eye-opening to us as we saw the presentation and knew it was something we wanted our students and community to have an opportunity to see.
“Our hope is this will be an opportunity, not only for our students, but community members and families to learn a little more about the potential dangers and some safeguards to hopefully prevent our kids from ever landing in a bad place through cell phone or computer activity,” English continued. “I would definitely encourage as many people that can to attend the presentation.”
According to the Project iGuardian website (www.ice.gov/topics/iGuardians), “Project iGuardian is focused on keeping children and teens safe from online predators through education and awareness. The project is an outreach effort to share information about the dangers of online environments, how to stay safe online, and how to report abuse and suspicious activity. In addition, the iGuardians™ team is here to help kids stay safe online by providing safety tips, a number to call, and a website with links to more information and resources. Project iGuardian helps kids, teens and parents to be smart about online safety and stay safe from online sexual predators.”
Project iGuardian was developed through the efforts of the Homeland Security Investigation, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s NetSmartz and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces.