On­line safety train­ing for par­ents

Record Observer - - NEWS -

CENTREVILLE — As part of its mis­sion to pre­vent child abuse, the Queen Anne’s County’s child ad­vo­cacy cen­ter is of­fer­ing two free ed­u­ca­tional fo­rums for par­ents who are con­cerned about the risks of so­cial media and other on­line ap­pli­ca­tions.

We hear more and more hor­ror sto­ries about chil­dren be­ing taken in by on­line adult preda­tors who know how to be­friend and gain the trust of sus­cep­ti­ble chil­dren and ado­les­cents.

Take the case of the 14-yearold boy from Cal­i­for­nia, for ex­am­ple, who was lured onto a plane in or­der to meet his new “friend” in Florida. For­tu­nately, the par­ents were able to trace their son’s ac­tions – in­clud­ing his cell phone sig­nal on a Delta red-eye flight to Tampa — and the po­lice were wait­ing at the air­port to ar­rest 36-year-old Tony Lee McLeod on kid­nap­ping charges.

Or, the tragic story of the stab­bing death of 13-year-old Ni­cole Lovell, who was lured by two Vir­ginia Tech stu­dents she had met on­line. Lovell’s mother, Tammy Weeks, said that her daugh­ter met them on an ob­scure dat­ing web­site, “That’s all I know. It was some off-the-wall site I never heard of.”

Par­ents are in­vited to a free train­ing by Jim Holler, a dy­namic, na­tion­ally known speaker and crimes against chil­dren in­ves­ti­ga­tor. This fast­paced train­ing will give par­ents tips on how to bet­ter mon­i­tor their child’s on­line ac­tiv­ity as well as be­come aware of hid­den dan­gers. The CARE Cen­ter is pre­sent­ing two iden­ti­cal pre­sen­ta­tions at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in or­der to ac­com­mo­date par­ents from dif­fer­ent parts of the county:

• Mon­day, May 22, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Kent Is­land Hol­i­day Inn, 1020 Kent Nar­rows Road, Gra­sonville;

• Tues­day, May 23, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Good­will Fire Com­pany, 212 Broad­way, Centreville.

The Mon­day night pre­sen­ta­tion will also be avail­able on Face­book LIVE at www.face­book.com/qac-care.

The CARE Cen­ter is grate­ful for the sup­port of the Pirone Fam­ily, An­napo­lis Boat Sales, and DiDonato Prop­erty Man­age­ment which made these sem­i­nars pos­si­ble. For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www. qac­care.org/fam­ily-sem­i­nars or call 410-758-2533.

The Child Abuse Re­sponse & Eval­u­a­tion Cen­ter pro­vides Queen Anne’s County with a na­tion­ally en­dorsed child ad­vo­cacy model for re­spond­ing to al­le­ga­tions of child abuse. Us­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive, mul­tidis­ci­plinary ap­proach that in­cludes both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors, the CARE Cen­ter brings key pro­fes­sion­als to­gether in a neu­tral set­ting to work on be­half of the best in­ter­ests of the child. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. qac­care.org.

On Fri­day, April 28, the Town of Centreville cel­e­brated Ar­bor Day by plant­ing five weep­ing cherry trees along the Mill­stream trail with the help of the Centreville El­e­men­tary School sec­ond-grade classes. The town was rec­og­nized by the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources as a three­year par­tic­i­pant in Tree City USA, and tree saplings were pro­vided to all the stu­dents.

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