Coalition Helps Keep Kids Safe Online

Coalition Helps Keep Kids Safe Online

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Coco Warner ReportingInternet use among teenagers is still on the rise. A recent study puts their online use at nearly 90 percent. And as students head back to class, that also means they're also going to get back online for school projects.

A popular web site for students researching school projects online is Google. Fortunately, Google has its own filtering system in place, but that's usually not the case when kids go online.

Mark and Katherine Van Wagoner have three kids, and like many Utah families, their children surf the internet.

Kate Van Wagoner, 15 years old: "I have MSN Messenger and I only add my friends, and that's the same for my friends too. Our parents all have the same rules."

Mark Van Wagoner, Father: "We've never had any cyber stalking or anything quite like that and our kids are pretty good kids, they're not checking into strange kinds of things."

The children use the internet mainly as an encyclopedia, a way to keep in touch with friends, and as entertainment.

Grace Van Wagoner, 11-years old: "I just like Disney Channel and Nickelodeon."

But even limited online use can be dangerous.

Jacalyn S. Leavitt, Internet Keep Safe Coalition: "The most important thing is for parents to be upfront with their children in talking about it-- their computer should be in a very high traffic area, common area so they can talk about it, be aware."

Former First Lady Jacalyn Leavitt wants to remind parents to teach their kids to keep personal information protected, don't meet anyone they've met online, and tell an adult if they see anything that makes them uncomfortable.

Jacalyn S. Leavitt, Internet Keep Safe Coalition: "It's a powerful tool, but it has sharp teeth; what children don't know can hurt them."

The Coalition has a website, it's called and it has several tips for parents, teachers and children on internet safety.

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