Parents Learn How To Protect Children From Online Predators

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was in East Texas tonight. His goal was to give parents the tools they need to protect children from online predators. National statistics show one in five children receive unwanted sexual solicitations online each year. For the past three years, the Texas Attorney General's Office's Cyber Crimes unit has been actively searching for online predators.

"Already we've arrested about 77 of these child predators in the state of Texas," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Three arrests were made right here in East Texas. Parents came out to a Cyber Safety Town Gall Meeting tonight to learn how they can protect their children.

"There's got to be some ways to block what they are not suppose to be watching," said Ines Espiricupa, parent. Other parents want to learn more about the blog site,, a web site that has more than 77 million members.

"Parents don't always have access to their own kids myspace site," said Debbie Carter, parent. "A lot of things can be put on them and she was looking at one the other day of somebody she knew that I know, and the language was atrocious." The Attorney General's Office gave parents some Internet safety tips. One, keep your computer in a common area. That way you can better monitor what your children are doing online. Second, don't have a webcam.

"Predators love webcams," said Kimberly Bustos, Investigator. "It's the easiest way to show your child exactly what they are talking about, exactly what they want from your child." Also, establish rules, and use parental controls that can archive a chat or block a web site.

"You can find that information on the web or with your Internet provider," said Bustos. Next, talk to your children about the dangers online and ask them what they are doing, and last educate yourself.

"Parents need to be very active and try to protect their children against a danger they may know nothing about," said Abbott. It's a message Greg Abbott is taking all over Texas.

Tonight's town hall meeting is the fourth held by the Texas Attorney General's Office. If you want to learn more about how you can protect your child from online predators go to our homepage and click on Know More on 7. There you'll find a link called Tips for parents: Preventing Cyber Crimes.

Molly Reuter, reporting.