The Internet is becoming the new playground for children and an access granted for online predators.
Madison County is joining several areas nationwide, in the 'Operation Blue Ridge Thunder Task Force.'
The task force trains local officers in recognizing child online predators.
Bedford County Sheriff Michael Brown, whose county is currently a part of the task force, says, "It is very important that we pay attention to our children because they are the target for the pedophiles and predators online."
One out of five missing children run away because of internet activity with a pedophile, explained Brown.
Madison County Sheriff Erik Weaver says he looks at the national problem from two spectrums. "I am really concerned as the sheriff of Madison County. I see this from the law enforcement side, but also as being a parent of a 14-year-old girl. I am concerned personally at home while she's at school and while on the internet."
Here are some tips to help monitor your child's internet use:
1. Put your computer in a family room. This way you can easily watch who your child talks to and what sites they visit.
2. Check your computers history from time to time. You want to make sure you child is not visiting site that you wouldn't approve of.
3. Be aware if your child spends more time on the internet than usual, especially at night.
4. If your child receives phone calls from an unfamiliar voice, don't be afraid to question how they know the person.
5. Always keep open communication with your child.
Parents who are interested in learning more ways to protect your child from online predators, Madison County is having a Internet Safety Education Seminar for parents. It's scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 15 at Wetsel Middle School.
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