Press Release
For Immediate Release
May 8, 2007
 
Contact: Robyn Ziegler
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)
rziegler@atg.state.il.us
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL CONTINUES EFFORTS TO PROMOTE INTERNET SAFETY EDUCATION FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN

Quiz Highlights Children’s Vulnerability Online

Chicago – As part of her continuing efforts to promote Internet safety education, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is encouraging parents and guardians to take an Internet safety quiz titled, “How Aware R U?”  The quiz demonstrates the risks that children face online and can serve as a starting point for parents as they learn to recognize online dangers and how to educate their children about these issues.

“If you are like me, you grew up hearing about ‘stranger danger.’  Well ‘stranger danger’ is no longer only a creepy guy hanging around the playground, offering candy,” said Madigan.  “Today ‘stranger danger’ is more likely to be in our homes, on the other end of our child’s computer.”

Madigan’s “How Aware R U?” quiz is part of her office’s ongoing efforts to educate parents and children about the ever-changing dangers that children face online.  Last month, Madigan unveiled her Internet Safety Education Act (ISEA), SB 1472, to encourage Illinois schools to adopt an age-appropriate Internet safety curriculum for students in grades K through 12.  Sponsored by Senator Dan Kotowski, Senator Arthur Wilhelmi, and State Representative David Miller, SB 1472 identifies key topics for instruction, including safe and responsible use of the Internet, and the risks posed by online predators, identify theft, cyber-bullying and harassment, and illegal downloading.  The Illinois Senate passed the bill and it is currently in the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education.  Also as part of her outreach efforts, Madigan’s office is distributing Internet safety educational videos to schools throughout the state. 

“As the Internet becomes increasingly accessible at school and home, we must teach our children how to avoid Internet dangers,” said Madigan.  “While law enforcement in Illinois aggressively pursues Internet predators, education is critically important.  We need to partner with parents in keeping children safe online.”

The quiz calls parents’ attention to the abbreviated language which children use in emails, chat rooms, instant messages, and text messages.  Some abbreviations are red flags to parents for a potential danger.  For example, a seemingly harmless text message “LMIRL” is an invitation: let’s meet in real life.  When parents become familiar with these cues, they can take an active role in protecting their children.

“It takes some time and effort to understand the language children use online.  Predators know how to communicate with our children on-line,” said Madigan.  “That is exactly why we need to learn it and get involved in protecting our children.”

Approximately 13 percent of teenagers reported that they received an unwanted sexual solicitation online, according to a recent study conducted by University of New Hampshire researchers for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  In addition, 34 percent of children ages 10 to 17 post their real names, telephone numbers, home addresses or the names of their schools online, where anyone can access that personal information.  www.unh.edu/ccrc.

These new Internet safety initiatives join overall efforts by Attorney General Madigan to protect children from online predators, including the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, which is located within her office.  Since January 2006, ICAC has investigated 462 cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, arrested 74 Internet predators, and trained more than 30,000 parents, children and educators.  More information can be located at http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/children/child_hitech.html

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Press Note:

PDF files of the quiz and answer key are available on the Attorney General’s Web site at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.  If you would like to receive a PDF or Word file of the quiz by e-mail, please call the Attorney General’s press office at
312-814-3118.
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