CWA Office Warns of Internet Predators, Kicks off Social Media Safety Campaign

Monday, May 23, 2016

With today's ever-changing technology, it is most important that children are protected from Internet predators.  Every year the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office prosecutes countless cases in which children and teens either got in trouble for their Internet, smart phone, or tablet activity, or were victimized as a result of it. Commonwealth's Attorney Colin Stolle announces his office's "Always Online" social media safety campaign, which kicks off today in honor of National Missing Children's Day on May 25. 


The campaign provides parents a guide for monitoring their children's social media activity and arms them with tools to assist in protecting their children from online dangers.  While social media apps can be fun and safe, they can become very dangerous when in the hands of a predator or an unsuspecting child or parent.  Approximately 14% of high school students have accepted an invitation to meet an online stranger or invited the stranger to meet them, according to the Rochester Institute for Technology. "If just one Virginia Beach child is victimized by an Internet predator, that is too many," Stolle said.  "The only way we can protect our children from online dangers is to stay involved, every day, with their online activity."


With the assistance of Virginia Beach's Multimedia Services division, Stolle's office created a public service announcement on Internet predators. To view the 30-second PSA, click here.  It will air on local television as well as in Virginia Beach movie theaters. 


For a list of social media apps that are popular with teens and therefore should be monitored, please visit the website for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.  At this site, you will also find information on how to use cellular provider based services and third party apps to monitor social media activity and review tips on how to talk to your children about making smart choices online. 


The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office also offers a computer monitoring software called ComputerCOP at no cost to Virginia Beach families.  ComputerCOP is a program that parents can install on a laptop or desktop computer to monitor their children's Internet activity and look out for online threats such as cyber-bullying, gangs, drugs, and predators. To obtain a copy of the software, visit any Virginia Beach Public Library. The program is intended for desktop and laptop computers rather than cell phones or tablets. The software was purchased with funds that were seized from criminal activity in Virginia Beach, at no cost to tax-payers.


 "As a community, we set the standard for purposeful living for our children," Stolle said. "Help me keep Internet predators out of Virginia Beach." 


For more information, contact Public Information Officer Macie Allen at 385-8545 or​