he FBI recently put out a warning for parents that 1 in 4 children with an electronic device will be sexually solicited online. The Child Protection Center (CPC) is strengthening its child abduction and abuse prevention education through an expanded curriculum of internet safety workshops, which are conducted by CPC’s Personal Safety and Community Awareness Program (PSCA). The additional prevention workshops are supported through a $27,500 grant from the Carlie Brucia Memorial Fund for Children.
“The internet has opened a whole new area for perpetrators to have access to children,” said Michelle McSwain, PSCA’s Program Director. “It’s our jobs as parents, professionals, and community members to educate children how to use their devices safely to prevent them from being harmed online.” These workshops build the foundation of internet safety, including the risks that come with common, unsafe behaviors online (such as the sharing of personal and inappropriate information, talking to strangers, and meeting in person with “friends” from online). The expanded curriculum would include lessons for children grades 4-12 as well as supplementary videos for parents and professionals, with each year’s lesson introducing more advanced safety skills.
The Carlie Brucia Memorial Fund for Children was created by the family of Carlie Brucia, a child victim of a violent crime, to honor and memorialize her life. The Fund works diligently to protect children through its support of programs focusing on self-defense and danger awareness training.
PSCA is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse through free educational workshop for students, parents, and professionals in Sarasota County. It is the longest tenured prevention program in the state of Florida, having hosted its first workshops in 1992. The Child Protection Center’s mission is the Prevention, Intervention, & Treatment of Child Abuse, as the organization envisions a community where children are safe from abuse and free to thrive. For over 40 years, CPC has been serving Sarasota and DeSoto Counties in the State of Florida, and is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. For more information on CPC or to book a personal safety workshop, visit www.cpcsarasota.org or call 941-365-1277.