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Free seminar in West Linn will be taught by a certified
by: submitted photo, Det. Kirk Tonkin

Unfortunately, the new buzzword is cyber-predator.

To make available to local families the latest information on how to protect their children from the inherent dangers of the Internet, the West Linn Police Department is offering a seminar next Thursday.

Det. Kirk Tonkin, a certified computer forensic examiner, will demonstrate the dangers, show videos of children speaking about how they were duped on-line and answer all questions from participants.

'Anyone who has access to the Internet is susceptible to on-line predators,' Tonkin said. '(At the seminar) we'll have some videos to give people the real-life scenarios of kids who have been involved in these things.'

In addition, Tonkin said the seminar will include ideas on how to avoid or quell what he calls cyber-bullying, which is when someone uses a MySpace account to write untrue things about another person and thus start rumors.

Not only will the seminar include methods of preventing future incidents, but also some tips on how to deal with what is currently happening.

For example, CD software purchased by the police department will demonstrate how parents can monitor what their children are viewing on-line.

That software, 'Computer Cop,' will be a gift to all who attend the seminar.

'The CD is one tool,' Tonkin said, 'but we're hoping that you won't have to use it because you're going to have conversations with your kids before anything bad happens.'

The emphasis on Internet safety, according to Sgt. Neil Hennelly, stems from an apparent increase in the activities of predators as well as officers' memories over the past several years of young West Linn girls who have been lured by adults that they met on-line.

'Our goal is to provide some additional tools and techniques to help keep our children safer,' Hennelly said.

Also on the agenda of the seminar is information about a group of law enforcement officers who have banded together as the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force as well as general safety of personal information.

The free seminar begins Thursday, March 1, at 7 p.m. on the second floor of city hall, 22500 Salamo Road.

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