Internet safety

Another Type Of Google Alert: Protect Your Children, Monitor Even Their "Harmless" Online Activities

Last year we formed a relationship with Enough is Enough — an organization that educates parents on Internet safety, as well as with the Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Attorney General's office, to bring Internet education to parents through churches in Virginia. Through that effort, we've distributed dozens of Enough is Enough's very effective Internet 101 curricula. While the program focuses on protecting our children from Internet predators who stalk Facebook and other social networking sites, there are other dangers online that, while not physically threatening, are problems nonetheless. For example, the online conglomerate Google currently is promoting an art contest for students called "Doodle-4-Google," offering prize money to schools and prizes to winners. Sounds harmless enough and, for the most part, it is.

Except in early online parental consent forms (and forms distributed to schools) Google asked the children participating to hand over private information, such as home addresses, dates of birth and the last four digits of their social security numbers. This is information that is perhaps worth millions of dollars to marketers and retailers. They also ask for the children's place of birth — information that, when combined with one's date of birth, can be used to take a statistical guess about the first five digits of social security numbers.

Now, there is no evidence that Google plans to financially benefit from the information. It simply may plan to toss it. But if that's the case, why ask for it in the first place? Under pressure from advocacy groups, the company did change the parental consent form and no longer requires the social security number, but many schools participating in the contest still are using the original form.

This is just one example of why it is very important to monitor what our children are doing online and, just as important, teach them not to share personal information online. Whether it's sexual predators or marketing executives, our childrens' safety and personal information is highly valuable. Please take the time to monitor everything your children do online — even when it seems "harmless."

Successful Enough Is Enough Internet Safety Class A Step Toward Improving The Culture

The Family Foundation partnered with Enough is Enough, the Office of Attorney General and  Immanuel Baptist Church in Richmond last Thursday as nearly 80 people attended an Internet safety program. Attendees received Enough is Enough's Internet Safety 101 kits to teach others in their churches, schools and small groups. Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough is Enough and Gene Fishel from the Attorney General's Internet Safety office led this hard-hitting training — equipping pastors, school administrators and parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect children who access the Web to download music and videos, and connect with friends. With the scourge of online pornography, the dangers of predators, and the abuse of interactive features, it is more important than ever to arm those who influence our children with the tools they need to keep young people safe.

It's only a start, and we are considering more training sessions around the state. But we are committed to doing our part to changing the culture within the culture as well through policy change. If your church or civic group would be interested in hosting a similar Internet safety training class, e-mail Roger Pogge at roger@familyfoundation.org. To find out more about Enough is Enough and Internet Safety 101, click here.

Virginia News Stand: April 12, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Time For Tea (Parties)

It's a busy Monday version of the News Stand. We're in the news, again, because liberals are complaining about us. Translation: We're doing an effective job thwarting their agenda.

Someone else doing an effective job are the lobbyists paid for by local governments with  your tax money, who lobby, mostly, against interests of taxpayers and for the interests of government. Hundreds of thousands of dollars across the state, in fact. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot features one such lobbyist and the dough she rakes in for the Virginia Beach School Board. However, some localities have stopped paying for outside help, which is good. But they continue to lobby the General Assembly with in-house staff. Not much better. Elsewhere, Tea Parties are spring up across the state and there are several dispatches regarding such. In news sure to cheer Planned Parenthood, a Catholic pharmacy which did not sell contraception, closed.

Nationally, we see the class exhibited by the New Jersey teachers union (it circulated an e-mail wishing for Republican Governor Chris Christie's death). In Analysis, Internet safety  activist Stacy Rumenap looks at a recent big win in federal court against the FCC and Henry Lamb discusses how President Obama got that national security force he campaigned for . . . in the health care bill! Nancy Pelosi was right. We did have to pass the bill to learn what was in it! In Commentary, Michelle Malkin and Mark Tapscott examine how the left in the media and out will try to sabotage the Tea Parties.

News

*UR recognition of Family Foundation leader protested (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*Jepson alumna condemned by students for leadership award (The Collegian)

*Family Foundation lobbies McDonnell on abortion, stem cell research (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Some school divisions think lobbyists worth the investment (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Catholic pharmacy shutters in Virginia (Washington Times)

Tea Party: We're taxed enough (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Farris, Viguerie To Speak At Culpeper Tea Party (Culpeper Star Exponent)

Tea Party seeks to ‘wake up’ America at Freedom Rally (Danville Register & Bee)

New flap brings McDonnell’s national viability to fore (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

'Jobs' governor's first 90 days have veered off course (The Daily Press)

Mims sworn in as Supreme Court justice (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

After loss, Va.'s Deeds tries to regain his footing (Washington Post)

National News

Teachers union memo 'prays' for governor's death (CNN.com)

Obama election-year jobs agenda stalls in Congress (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP senators push for 'mainstream' court nominee (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Psst: Hilary Rodham Clinton for court? (AP/GOPUSA.com)

GOP Chairman Steele: 'I've made mistakes' (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis

Obamacare Will Be at Center of High Court Hearing (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

Obama's Private Army (Henry Lamb/GOPUSA.com)

Court Rules FCC Lacks Authority to Regulate Internet (Stacy Rumenap/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Crash course: Your illustrated guide to Tea Party saboteurs (Michelle Malkin/MichelleMalkin.com)

Will Mainstream Media reporters and editors expose, screen out, or help Tea Party saboteurs? (Mark Tapscott/Beltway Confidential-WashingtonExaminer.com)

Are All Cultures Equal? (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Virginia News Stand: December 18, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Snowbound Edition

We have lots of material built up from the last two days, plus Governor Tim Kaine's shocking income tax increase and budget proposals earlier today that, as one radio reporter said, caused an audible gasp from each member on the committee. Since the entire state is going to get blanketed by 24.36 feet of snow starting tonight, you might as well site back and read it all.

Not only do we have quantity, we have quality. There's plenty of news about the budget, but we also are cited five times (links with a *) — four on our new Internet safety initiative with Enough is Enough, the Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Office of the Attorney General and Pastors For Family Values, three of which is video — and once on D.C.'s new same-sex marriage law.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) has cut some staff and perks from the House of Delegates — no more free coffee, boys and girls. He said he's saved the Commonwealth $4.8 million since 2003 with a series of reductions, including new scheduling which allows members to travel to Richmond one day during for multiple out-of-session committee meetings rather than two or three separate occasions.

At the federal level, Senator Jim Webb (contact) penned a column in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record saying that he hasn't made up his mind on the health care bill. Perhaps Virginians can help him conclude in the negative? The Wall Street Journal examines the Democrats' pending electoral implosion due to Americans' desire for the government not to own every industry and create new ones out of whole cloth. ("Climate change" and "green jobs"?)

But getting back to Governor Kaine's desire to eliminate the car tax cut and/or raise the state income tax by one percent: As mentioned here several times in recent weeks, he has a peculiar idea of a legacy, doesn't he? I know he's been out of state a lot in recent months, but didn't he see the election results? The people are demanding reductions in government, not more taxes. There's never been a governor more determined to inflict economic pain on Virginians than he — every year seeking a giant tax increase, despite a campaign pledge not to — and now, this monstrosity. The winner in all this is Governor-to-be Bob McDonnell. If he keeps his pledge not to raise taxes, and balances the budget, after Kaine has basically said that it can't be done that way, the new guy will pretty much own the state.  

News:

Kaine wants to scrap car-tax; increase state income tax (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*Virginia takes Internet safety initiative to faith community (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*D.C. City Council votes to legalize same-sex marriage (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia panel hears about juvenile justice disparities, ‘sexting’ laws (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine may renew Virginia's car tax debate amid budget gap (Washington Post)

Kaine seeks ways to increase revenues (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell hints at job cuts for state employees (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell, Bolling visit Southside, discuss job creation (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell says fixing Virginia's roads will be his 'most difficult challenge' (The Daily Press)

Transportation panel sees revenue as key to roads plan (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. seeks to extend IT contract deadline (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

No more free coffee, other House cuts (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Delegates will give up some perks to save Va. some money (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Area legislators talk to Chamber of Commerce (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Virginia Republicans push Webb to oppose health bill (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National:

Democrats' Blues Grow Deeper in New Poll (Wall Street Journal Online)

Commentary:

Health-Care Reform Needed Now (Jim Webb/Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Video:

*Interfaith Effort for Internet Safety (3:09) (WTVR.com/WTVR-CBS6)

 

*New Efforts to Promote Internet Safety (2:24) (NBC12.com/WWBT-NBC12)

*Promoting Internet Safety Through Religious Communities (3:26) (WHSV.com/WHSV-TV3)

Help Coming For Internet Safety While Waiting For General Assembly Action

On Tuesday, the Virginia Crime Commission decided to recommend no legislative remedies regarding "sexting," an obscene and predatory version of text messaging. The same day, The Family Foundation participated in a Capitol press conference (see coverage at  Richmond Times-Dispatch) with Attorney General Bill Mims, Enough is Enough and the Interfaith Center for Public Policy to announce a joint venture to educate churches on Internet safety.

The Internet is an expanse of exploration and offers a joy of discovery and learning, but it also has a dark side populated by hardcore pornography and sexual predators. Keeping children safe while they explore the Web is a full time job. To help parents, Enough is Enough produced "Internet Safety 101," a DVD program that helps parents understand the dangers of the Internet and how to protect their children.

As technology advances, the threats to children have moved far beyond chat rooms and My Space, to cel phones and even game systems like PS2 and Xbox. Unfortunately, too few parents are equipped to monitor everything that their children see online, or on their cel phone. "Internet Safety 101" provides the tools necessary for child protection.

At the news conference (see WHSV.com), we announced a joint effort between ourselves, the Attorney General's officePastors For Family Values (our pastors outreach ministry), and the Interfaith Center for Public Policy, where we will distribute 1,000 Internet Safety kits, upon request, to churches across Virginia. Churches can then use the material to train their congregations to better understand the threats that exist and how to combat them. We also will conduct a joint training for pastors and other church leaders on Thursday, March 4, 2010, in Richmond.

Here's a quote from Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb from the news conference (see WTVR.com/CBS6):

Over the years, The Family Foundation has urged the General Assembly to pass stronger penalties for child pornography and to do as much as possible to protect our children and our families on the Internet, but with the freedom that exists on the World Wide Web, we know that this goes far beyond anything government can really do. We as parents must take the necessary steps to protect our families. With the assistance of churches, we can educate and inform thousands more families, protect thousands more children, and hopefully, even save some lives. The materials produced by Enough is Enough are timely, they are effective, they are powerful, and they will absolutely help families in Virginia deal with the dangers that lurk on the Internet.

Clearly, these issues go beyond simply passing new laws (see WWBT/NBC12.com). We as parents, families and churches must do more to ensure that the experiences our children have on the Internet are safe. Our hope is that churches in our network will take advantage of these free resources and help their congregations learn the ins and outs of Internet safety.

If you’d like more information about this material for your church please call John Smith in our office at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at john@familyfoundation.org.

InternetSafety2(Photo courtesy of the Office of Attorney General.)