One of Catherine Hanaway’s accomplishments as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri has been to use the considerable power of her office on behalf of children. She has been a vigilant guardian of, and a vocal advocate for, kids; and a tireless prosecutor of those who harm them. In 2008 alone, her office prosecuted 70 child exploitation cases — one of the largest case loads in the country.
Today, Catherine showed off a new national media campaign to educate parents about some of the dangers children face on-line, and to warn potential on-line predators about the serious federal penalties that the Department of Justice can seek. The ads, which will run as print, radio, TV, and web-based PSAs, were developed jointly by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP); and Project Safe Childhood partners iKeepSafe, Hispanic Communications Network; and the St. Louis-based Internet Safety initiative, INOBTR (“I Know Better”).
Many of you will be giving electronic devices — computers, PDAs, games, phones that connect them to the Internet to your kids and grandkids this year. It is prudent to spend some time over the holiday to talk to them about being safe on the Internet. A child on the Internet needs the same supervision you would give her were she to leave your home and go to . . . well, Peru.
I found Catherine’s presentation to be chillingly persuasive. I will be working with SLPS officials, charter schools, and local parochial/private schools to ensure that they have access to the same material.