Many parents and guardians are unaware of the dangers teenagers and children face on the internet. It only takes a few clicks on the internet to be followed by an internet hacker and internet predators can easily monitor unaware children or adults online. To raise awareness about internet dangers and safety, the City of Santa Clarita’s Blue Ribbon Task Force is holding Teen Scene Unplugged: Plugging Into Your Teen’s Online World on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006. The event will be held at the Hyatt Valencia, located at 24500 Town Center Drive.
An annual event since 2000, Teen Scene Unplugged draws a large crowd every year. Last year, more than 700 parents and teens attended the event. The Teen Scene program has been successful for opening the communication lines about certain topics between parents and teenagers. This event will inform parents and teens about the potential dangers kids face when going online as well as how parents how they can protect their kids from online predators and strangers they meet on the information highway.
A resource fair, featuring informational materials from local organizations, will kick-off the event at 6 p.m. The presentation portion of the program is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“I urge all parents to accompany their teens to this event,” said Mayor Laurene Weste. “It is important that we keep our children safe from internet stalkers and sexual predators. It can be a matter of life and death. There have been too many instances of teenagers and children being rape and murder due to internet encounters.”
The event will feature guest speaker, Donna Rice Hughes, an internationally known internet safety expert and advocate. Hughes is the president of Enough Is Enough, a non-profit organization dedicated to making the internet safer for children and families. She is a leader in national efforts protecting children from sexual predators and internet pornography.
“Often times teens are much more internet savvy than the parents,” said Hughes.
Hughes will cover topics such as internet dangers and safety solutions. She will conduct a live internet demonstration that will show the audience how easy it can be for a teen or child to fall victim to online predators, how easy it is to accidentally come across pornography on the internet and how easy it is for an internet stalker to track a person just by being in the same chat room.
Hughes will also discuss what parents can do it they decide to allow their children to join a social networking website such as MySpace, the largest social-networking that is highly popular among teens today. She will explain the dangers of social networking and how to protect children from it.
“The internet is, without a doubt, a wonderful tool. Information is literally at our fingertips, and readily available with the click of a mouse,” said Tess Simgen, community services analyst. “On the same token, our kids can be just a click away from becoming a statistic, with ‘stranger danger’ taking on a whole new meaning.”
Teen Scene Unplugged
is free and opened to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information about Teen Scene Unplugged
, contact Tess Simgen, Community Services Analyst for the City at 661/255-4965 or visit www.santa-clarita.com/cityhall/parks/blueribbon.