Teens to create online ads about Web safety
The FBI in Honolulu says the best way to educate teenagers about Internet safety is to have them hear it from other teens.
So it has partnered with Sassy/G Magazine and Infragard Hawaii to encourage teens to produce video public safety announcements through the first-ever Internet Safety Awards. The contest is open to all middle, intermediate and high school students in Hawaii.
"They're going to articulate how the technology is going to be used. We just provide them with the reason to do it," said FBI Special Agent Arnold Laanui Jr.
The contest is the first of its kind and is a pilot for the rest of FBI field offices in the country, Laanui said.
The PSA has to run 27 seconds or shorter on topics of online predators, cyberbullying, or Internet piracy and plagiarism. Awards will be handed out March 13 to winners in each category and to their respective schools.
Entries must by received at the FBI's Honolulu office by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 22. More information about the contest and its rules are available online at www.Internetsafetyawards.org.
Kamehameha Schools senior Nick Sagum says education is the best way to protect teens from the dangers of the Internet.
"You can't bar them from the Internet," he said, "Students can't get away from the Internet. And there's no way, you go to school and you're going to have to do research for a project."
Fellow Kamehameha senior Jolene Young said the school blocks Web sites it deems inappropriate.
"When teenagers go on the site, and they see that it's blocked, they're like, 'Why did the school block it?' -- It's no big deal," she said.
Young says the contest will show students that going to the blocked sites will make them vulnerable to solicitations from predators.
And Kamehameha freshman Shay Revuelto says teens learn better from their peers "because teens would rather listen to other teens rather than to an adult."
Last year, four men were arrested and convicted in state court in Honolulu for soliciting sex online from minors or from law enforcement officers posing as minors, said U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo.
"And what we have been seeing with the Department of Justice nationwide is that more and more teens are being lured unsuspectingly by adults who are preying on them for sexual exploitation," he said.
The FBI says one in seven children, 10-17 years old, received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet. Four percent were asked to meet somewhere, called on the telephone or sent letters, money or gifts.
The FBI also says 34 percent had unwanted exposure to sexual material, over half were bullied online, and 65 percent plagiarized material online for book reports and essays.