UNCW Youth Summit Tackles Internet Predators

WILMINGTON -- A summit on UNCW campus Friday tackles the subject of internet predators and online safety of children.

While stories of men looking for sex with young kids online serve as a distant warning for parents, forensic pediatrician Dr. Sharon Cooper knew the dangers lurking behind the computer screen very well.

"On the internet, we don't have that ability to look someone in the eye and judge if they're going to harm us," said Cooper.

Cooper said that exploitation of kids is increasing, because sexual images are so readily accepted in our culture.

"There's the TV shows, the magazine covers, video games, and of course everything online," said Cooper.  "Now this shouldn't be a taboo subject.  It has to be talked about openly."

District Attorney Ben David wanted to continue these open discussions.  He wanted to have this Youth Safety Summit more than once a year.

"We're making progress against these types of crimes," said David, "and our efforts will keep this fight going against the people that do any harm to our kids."

The examples of threats to kids online are everywhere, both in our area and on network television.  Cooper and David both said that talking about these threats is a step toward stopping them.

Reported by Joe Keiley