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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Ashland County Prosecuting Attorney and Ashland City School District present Internet Safety Program

Ashland County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher R. Tunnell and Ashland City School District Superintendent Steve Paramore announced today that they are jointly sponsoring an internet safety presentation by the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (Ohio ICAC).

The program will take place Tuesday, September 12th 2023, at 6 p.m. in Archer Auditorium located at 1440 King Rd Ashland, OH. The program is free for parents, custodians, and guardians of children, regardless of which school district they attend. This presentation is for adults only. The program is expected to conclude by 8 p.m.

Most Ashland County school age children are utilizing not just computers, but cell phones, tablets, and an array of internet connected devices. While this connectivity holds great potential for education, there is also the potential that online predators will interact with a child. Those predators are sophisticated and can pull your child from a virtual environment into the real-life dangers of the world. Parents and caretakers are very often the least knowledgeable people in the home about the online environment. The purpose of this program is to educate adults as to what happens online and how to can keep children safe.

Ohio ICAC began in 1999 in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. It is an alliance of city, county, state, and federal law enforcement authorities dedicated to the apprehension and prosecution of internet child predators and child pornographers and to educate parents and children about internet safety. The task force is currently comprised of over 330 partner law enforcement agencies.

The Ohio ICAC Task Force has seen a significant increase in the number of Internet crimes against children and tips reported by apps and websites popular with children. According to ICAC Outreach Coordinator Emmaleigh Welka, “these crimes demand a vigilant response from parents and caregivers. The task force encourages all adults to attend this presentation to learn about these virtual dangers and best practices for ensuring that youth know how to use today’s technology safely and responsibly.”

Superintendent Paramore added, “Student safety and the preservation of our children and families is at the forefront of our mission. We know that there is always uncertainty in this world as we raise, nurture, and educate our children. We are so pleased to partner with ICAC and our county prosecutor’s office to bring this informational presentation to Ashland County. Ashland City Schools and all the schools in this county can benefit from this transparent look at what is unfortunately out there as unforeseen dangers in any community. We look forward to the good that comes out of informing and engaging our stakeholders on the topic of crimes against children.”

Prosecutor Tunnell said, “Over the years we have seen the predators come to life. If your child is online, the bad guys have access to the inside of your home. Ashland and the surrounding areas have seen cases where these people show up to meet children for reasons you don’t want to hear about. Every one of them were introduced to the children online. If there is a child in your home, you must be aware of what’s out there and how to safely navigate cyberspace. It makes me proud to live and work in a community where we can partner with professionals like Steve Paramore, organizations like Ohio ICAC, and parents and custodians to proactively keep kids safe.”

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