Keep­ing Kids Safe fo­rums pre­sented

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - From Berks County In­ter­me­di­ate Unit

The Berks County In­ter­me­di­ate Unit, along with event part­ners, the PA Gover­nor’s Of­fice of Home­land Se­cu­rity, the Berks County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, and the Penn­syl­va­nia State Po­lice, hosted Keep­ing Kids Safe: Cy­ber Se­cu­rity fo­rums for more than 250 com­mu­nity mem­bers, parents, ed­u­ca­tors, busi­ness lead­ers, men­tal health providers, and law en­force­ment of­fi­cials.

At­ten­dees gath­ered at the Inn at Read­ing at two iden­ti­cal ses­sions on March 22, for free cy­ber se­cu­rity work­shops pre­sented by key­note speaker, Michele Stu­art.

The main fo­cus of the event was to help at­ten­dees un­der­stand the risks, ob­tain tools, and learn

how to nav­i­gate their child’s use of so­cial me­dia and their cy­ber se­cu­rity. The fo­rums cov­ered bul­ly­ing, sex­ual ha­rass­ment, preda­tory be­hav­ior, and pornog­ra­phy ex­po­sure. At­ten­dees learned how to set mo­bile pri­vacy set­tings, dis­cover the most cur­rent apps be­ing used for so­cial me­dia, find out what cur­rent apps are be­ing used for ‘se­cret’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions or sex­ting, and hear how bul­ly­ing hap­pens and can ruin lives.

Dr. Jill Hack­man, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor for the Berks County In­ter­me­di­ate Unit re­in­forced the im­por­tance of con­nect­ing with com­mu­nity mem­bers and equip­ping them with the knowl­edge and tools to help keep kids safe.

“Pro­tect­ing our chil­dren is a com­mu­nity com­mit­ment,” Dr. Hack­man said. “We must work to­gether as ed­u­ca­tors, parents, busi­ness lead­ers, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials, and hu­man ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als to en­sure that the more than 70,000 chil­dren in Berks County are kept safe from the dangers of so­cial me­dia and in­ter­net us­age.”

Ron­ald Stanko, Deputy Di­rec­tor for the Penn­syl­va­nia Gover­nor’s Of­fice of Home­land Se­cu­rity, said that safety starts with com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween parents, schools, and law en­force­ment.

“Lo­cal, state, and fed­eral law en­force­ment agen­cies work tire­lessly to in­ves­ti­gate and pre­vent threats to our most vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions. We are ex­tremely for­tu­nate and thank­ful to have heard from Michele Stu­art about the im­por­tance of cy­ber se­cu­rity and the tools parents can use to help their chil­dren avoid risks on­line. When we work to­gether to help keep our com­mu­nity safe, we keep our kids safe.”

John Adams, District At­tor­ney for Berks County, also spoke at each ses­sion pro­vid­ing com­mu­nity re­sources and shar­ing what is be­ing done at a lo­cal level to com­bat this se­ri­ous is­sue.

Michele Stu­art, Owner of JAG In­ves­ti­ga­tions and key­note speaker for the fo­rums, is a li­censed pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor with 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence. Stu­art has served as an ad­junct pro­fes­sor with the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia and an In­struc­tor at Quan­tico for mul­ti­coun­try train­ing pro­grams. She pro­vides sem­i­nars and pri­vate train­ing on her spe­cial­ized in­ves­tiga­tive tech­niques for both fed­eral and state lev­els of law en­force­ment agen­cies and mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence through­out the U.S. in­clud­ing at­ten­dees of Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, U.S. Mar­shals, FBI, DOJ, Bor­der Pa­trol, In­dian Tribal Na­tions, and lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies through­out the coun­try.

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