The Internet is a wealth of knowledge that we can gain access to at the touch of a button, but it has also proven that it can be a dangerous tool, especially when it comes to kids and teens.
WHIZ’s Emily Baird explains what one local cell phone provider is doing to help promote internet safety.
Social networking is a popular tool in this day and age.
"Being teenagers, we mainly have MySpace and Facebook, " says 17-year-old Barrett Carnaha.
These sites allow kids and teenagers to express themselves, but sometimes, they can give away too much information online.
"Giving out personal information and pictures that they might put online that they would regret later, " says Sprint Assistant Store Manager, Brandon Cornell.
That’s why Sprint is offering a website called 4NetSafety. It’s a resource for kids, parents, and educators that’s free of charge. The site provides videos and tips dealing with Internet safety, how to avoid predators, and preventing cyberbullying.
"Different things they can check out to become more familiar with safety, " says Cornell.
Shonda Souder is a parent and says she thinks the resource is a great idea and can be a very useful parenting tool.
She says parents need to sit down with their kids and teens to explain the dangers that can come from vulnerable words and actions while on the Internet.
"I think they think it’s something that can’t happen to them, " says Souder.
Souder says her son has a MySpace account, and she makes sure to check it frequently.
"I think parents need to pay attention to what the kids are looking at and reviewing, " says Souder.
Yet, kids and teens have mixed feelings when it comes to parents intervening in their Intenet affairs. Some say they feel safe and don’t need their parents to butt in while others say the dangers of the Internet are always in the back of their minds.
"I think we’re both smart to know not to put that kind of stuff out there, " says 17-year-old Cole Mazahar.
"I’m always concerned about Internet safety because you never know what anyone is going to find and what they are going to see, " says 17-year-old Kristin Collins.
The younger generation is spending more time on the Internet, whether it be by computer or phone.
"Especially in the winter, kids are on the net more and more. They say like about 53 hours a week on average, " says Cornell.
Cornell says Sprint just wants to make sure kids are safe during those 53 hours, and it wants to ease parents’ fears.
I’m Emily Baird for WHIZ News.
For more information on Sprint’s 4NetSafety, visit www.4netsafety.com.