Attorney General and local club team up to keep kids safe on-line

By: Chris Baylor Email
By: Chris Baylor Email

Wisconsin's Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says one in seven children are asked on-line to engage in sexual activity and that's something he's trying to change.

One of the ways he's working to stop on-line threats, is through education. We sat down with the Attorney General and one of his new partners in education.

About a dozen Boys and Girls Clubs across the state joined the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force earlier this month. Working with the task force makes the groups eligible for grants and access to information.

On Monday kids at the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley in Eau Claire logged off the computers and picked up a paint brush but Executive Director Sara Antonson says the kids at the club are learning how to stay safe on the internet.

"Our whole goal is to really give them an idea of reality on the internet a lot of kids don't understand the far reaching aspects of what they're doing when they're posting status updates or posting pictures," says Antonson.

For the last eleven years, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice have teamed up with groups across the state to help combat internet predators and educate kids about the dangers on-line.

"We have too man kids who don't know the dangers on the internet and too many parents who don't know what their kids are doing on-line," says Van Hollen.

He says the Boys and Girls Clubs can do a great job working with younger kids on prevention but working with the task force also keeps the groups talking with police.

"It connects these Boys and Girls Clubs even more closely with the law enforcement partners in their communities so they're not just preventing child sexual abuse but hopefully they're making a connection where they can report it," says Van Hollen.

Antonson says the grant they've received isn't much, but it will go a long way.

"Because the material is in expensive it really helps us to be effective to help us reach every member because we're able to take this money and really stretch it out because they (the kids) will all watch these videos," says Antonson.

J.B. Van Hollen says in the past decade more than 700 arrests have been made through the task force's work.

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