These are just a few of the alarming statistics that investigation expert Michele Stuart recently shared with the nearly 200 parents, teachers, and school administrators at the Chester County Safe Schools Summit at Rustin High School.
“As more children begin to use the internet at earlier ages, there has been a need for increased understanding about online safety and cyberbullying,” said Dr. Joseph J. O’Brien, executive director of the Chester County Intermediate Unit. “In support of this, we have partnered with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and the Chester County Department of Emergency Services and the West Chester Area School District to conduct the annual Chester County Safe Schools Summit.”
In addition to Stuart and O’Brien, attendees heard from:
- Dr. Jim Scanlon, Superintendent of West Chester Area School District
- Ronald Stanko, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security
- Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone
- State Rep. Stephen Barrar
Each speaker stressed the importance of online safety and how this issue is being addressed in Pennsylvania on the statewide, local, and school levels.
Stuart, owner and operator of JAG Investigations, Inc., was the keynote speaker for the Summit. An instructor at the FBI Academy at Quantico and former adjunct professor at the University of Virginia, Stuart’s significant professional experience and passion to keep children safe from online predators positions her as an expert on internet safety.
“My main goal is for kids to be safe,” said Stuart. “When something happens to a kid, it just kicks you in the stomach as a parent and human. I want to make sure every child does not get contacted by a predator, and I want to make sure their lives are good, so they grow up to be my age.”
During Stuart’s presentation, audience members learned the signs a child will show if they are being cyberbullied, how to prevent and stop cyberbullying, the most popular apps children are using to communicate, and how those apps can be dangerous.
Stuart also spoke about how to monitor children’s use of communication online through apps and how to be open, so children feel comfortable talking to parents and caregivers about serious issues.
For more information about the Safe Schools Summit, please contact communications specialist Anthony Saraceno at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-237-5371 or special events coordinator Jay Stone at JayS@cciu.org or 484-237-5053.