The Center for Safe and Secure Schools joins with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to present Internet safety training to protect children ages 5-17 in Texas.

What: NetSmartz Student Internet Safety, train-the-trainer

When: Monday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m. (media opportunity features a presentation by Texas Center for the Missing, managers of the Amber Alert System, other interviews upon request)

Where: Harris County Department of Education, 6300 Irvington, Houston, TX 77022

Who: Center for Safe and Secure Schools, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, FBI– Houston Division, Texas Attorney General’s Office, Texas Center for the Missing, Harris County District Attorney’s Office

The daylong train-the-trainer workshop trains educators and law enforcement officials in how to implement a program called NetSmartz, a kid friendly software program that promotes Internet Safety for progressive student age groups.

Included with the training are presentations which address child exploitation and Internet crimes against children from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI–Houston Division. The workshop includes a call-to-action message by Texas Center for the Missing, manager of Amber Alert. Also presenting is the Texas Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. “Superintendents of area school districts and law enforcement agencies that partner with the Center tell us Internet crime is a grave problem, and that it is critically important to find solutions,” said Karl Boland, director of the Center.

The Center for Safe and Secure Schools, a division of Harris County Department of Education, is America’s first regionally focused operation that contractually networks with schools and other government resources to help educators keep children safe during times of crisis. The Center interfaces with school districts and emergency management organizations to help the greater community have a comprehensive plan for disasters. From natural disasters to threats from intruders, schools increasingly need training in how to manage disasters.

In addition to Internet safety training, the Center provides leadership with workshops on bullying, peer mediation and emergency preparedness. The Center also delivers research-based information critical to school districts.

Studies about Internet usage by teens support:

*61 percent of 13-17 year olds have personal profiles on sites like MySpace, Friendster or Xanga. Half post their photos online.

*75 percent report receiving messages online from someone they don’t know.

*When teens get messages online from a stranger, 40 percent report that they will typically reply and chat with that person.

(Survey commissioned by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.)

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