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Special agent warns parents about social networking perils

As computer networking sites become more popular, law enforcement is trying to protect children from potential dangers on the Internet.

Project Safe Childhood is headed by the U.S. Justice Department. Its main goal is to arrest and prosecute child predators.

State Justice Department Special Agent Eric Szatkowski is working with the program. He says he teaches parents and children that there's no such thing as a private online space.

He says more parents need to take precautions when letting their children use the Internet.

Szatkowsi contends social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook are inappropriate for anyone under 17 because of possible violent and alcohol-related content.

"People who are in your group will have access to that information, they can copy that information, send it off to other people", explains Szatkwoski. "So they really need to be smart about the type of pictures, language and information that they're putting on those sites."

Szatkowski says he thinks the partnership with Project Safe Childhood has been successful. He says if one predator is caught, then several crimes are prevented.

Wisconsin members of Project Safe Childhood are holding a training session for educators Monday in Franklin. The sessions will include information on social networking sites and cyber-bullying.