Lauren’s Kids, which offers help to childhood sexual abuse survivors, is launching a new PSA warning of the dangers of unmonitored online activity during National Internet Safety Month.
The minute-long video plays out a worst-case scenario, where a young girl has met up with a stranger she connected with online.
“Sometimes I use my mom’s iPad. That’s where I met my friend, Shelly, and she invited to meet me at the park so we can go see her new puppy,” the young girl begins as she rides a seesaw.
“She said we’ll be back before my mom even knows we’re gone.”
Her seesaw partner, an older man, then chimes in. “That’s right,” he says, “your mom will never know.”
“I just love puppies,” the young girl adds. “When we get to your house, we can feed your puppy and pet him and snuggle him, right?”
“Mhm,” the older man responds. “And I asked my friends, Toya and Billy, to come too.”
“Okay let’s go,” the child exclaims. “Remember, I have to be back soon or my mom might get mad.”
The video then shows the young girl entering the man’s vehicle before displaying the message, “The internet is a playground for predators.”
The PSA is another in a line of Lauren’s Kids productions cautioning parents about the dangers of the internet. Sen. Lauren Book — herself a survivor of child sexual abuse — founded Lauren’s Kids before joining the Legislature.
“Unfortunately, where kids go, so too do those who wish to harm them,” Book explained. “Each internet-capable device acts as an open door for millions of people, directly into your — and your child’s — life. While the internet serves as an invaluable resource when used for a child’s education, entertainment, and discovery, parents must realize that the digital world is also a playground for skilled predators.”
That threat can be avoided, Book says, by parents taking an active role in monitoring their children’s internet activities.
“Establishing an Internet code of conduct is important for children of all ages to understand that their behavior online should mirror their behavior in the physical world,” Book said.
“Armed with the knowledge that 95% of child sexual abuse and exploitation is preventable through education and awareness, I urge families and youth-serving organizations to use June — Internet Safety Month — to learn about ways to keep children safe online.”
Lauren’s Kids offers a tip sheet for parents to help ensure their children use the internet safely. The foundation also provides a “Family Safety Activity Pack” aimed at helping children to discuss potential trauma.