NC Attorney General, Facebook, parents talk online safety

Posted April 17, 2012
Updated April 18, 2012


— Panther Creek High School hosted a town hall meeting for parents Tuesday about the perils of Facebook and other social media, and families statewide were invited to participate via the Internet.

State Attorney General Roy Cooper joined a representative from Facebook to show parents and students how to safely use social media. 

Cooper said the Internet can be a dangerous place for children because it gives predators access to personal information and allows them to pretend to be whomever they wish.

"We have had a number of cases locally (where predators) have exploited children and taken advantage of children," Cooper said.

Parent Alan Briones said he's heard horror stories about what can happen on social networking sites.

"You hear extreme cases where kids committed suicide over bullying," he said. "(Someone) hacks into somebody's Facebook or puts up a Facebook with another kid's information on it."

His 14-year-old son, Jack, however, said he's confident in the safety of what he posts online.

"I know what I put out there," Jack Briones said. "I do not put my information out." Roy Cooper Panther Creek hosts social media safety workshop

Facebook spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said the site has a number of tools to keep children safe, including the ability to restrict interactions with people and block bullies.

She suggested that parents talk openly with their children about how to use the privacy settings and controls.

"The same way we talk about safely crossing the street," she said.

Still, even with privacy settings in place, Facebook can't stop friends from sharing other friends' personal information.

At Tuesday's meeting, Cooper and Oberwetter offered this Internet safety checklist for parents:

  • How much time is your child spending online? Does it seem like it's too much?
  • Has your child received phone calls from any strange people?
  • Has your child received unusual mail or gifts?
  • Has your child tried to hide online activity?
  • Is your child experiencing any sudden or substantial changes in behavior? 

These may be warning signs that a child is being victimized. For more on how to keep children safe online, visit Cooper's Internet Safety website.


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  • pbjbeach Apr 18, 2012

    In my own personal opinion mr cooper is one totaly useless indivsual when it comes to enforcing the laws of the state of north carolina as thathe has allowed for their to be claims payment payouts to contracting enitys across this sate thatare totaly unjustified an should have never been paid out in the first place for it perpurted a fraud against the states taxpayers by allowing this to take place he needs to be replace by someone that will actually enforce the laws of this state thank you

  • bombayrunner Apr 18, 2012

    this is what happens when people didnt watch their kids in this easy life, then they had kids and now dont have a clue.

  • bombayrunner Apr 18, 2012

    simple, WATCH YOUR KIDS ... it is your responsibility.

  • snshine62d Apr 18, 2012

    Used to be back in the old days we didn't even put our children's name on the back of their baseball jersey. Now the kids put their name, what school they go to, pictures of themselves anything you want to know is all there for the predators. Might as well put up a sign "Come and get me"

  • Scubagirl Apr 18, 2012

    "Apparently many parents fail to teach "common-sense" to their children... and/or they very unrealistically expect the schools/teachers to do it.

    Objective Scientist"


  • piene2 Apr 18, 2012

    "Our society is becoming so superficial and lame. Its a sad day when seminars have to be held because of stuff like this. I deleted my facebook pager over 4 months ago, and I don't miss it for one minute.

    I can not understand how one can be so socially dessicated as to feel the need for such a thing as face book in the first place. Surly a gathering place for the socially impaired.

  • this is my Screen Name Apr 18, 2012

    FB is a very popular place to put yourself out there. Telling that you are going away on vacation, even if you are really excited about it, is just asking for trouble. Adults are as bad as the kids about telling too much information. But it does add pressure for teens and young adults to talk about their love life, you have to be in a relationship, have a picture with you kissing your boyfriend/girlfriend, and make sure your status shows in a relationship. I love catching up with friends from years and years ago, but have to be careful still on what I write publicly. Agree with Objective -- common sense is always wise.

  • Platinum Apr 18, 2012

    I appreciate AG Cooper's attempt to address this issue, but how about doing more about known predators to begin with? If you want to make our communities safer, stop letting sexual predators back out on the streets. They have among the highest recidivism rate (in other words, rehabilitation is rarely successful when it comes to these perverts). We know this, the statistics show repeat offenses time after time, yet we continue to give them an 18 month sentence and then they're back out on the streets. Do something meaningful and you won't have to put so much of the emphasis back on potential victims' responsibility. Of course people should be more careful but we're letting these creeps walk among us and that's just asking for trouble.

  • mrlee34 Apr 17, 2012

    Thank you Objective!

  • Objective Scientist Apr 17, 2012

    All in all... having such a "town hall meeting" on this topic is likely more positive than negative - because there are some people - adults and kids - who definitely need it! Unfortunately... many who need it will not likely attend.

    On the other hand... I agree with mrlee34. Not only on this topic, but on many MANY others the notion that such seminars/meetings/presentations, etc. "have to" be held on such topics is a very sad day. I had great parents who taught me a LOT. One "teaching" that truly stands out is the application of "common-sense" to everyday living. For me... putting the specifics of one's life on the internet - to the degree to which some do - falls far outside any boundary of "common-sense"! Apparently many parents fail to teach "common-sense" to their children... and/or they very unrealistically expect the schools/teachers to do it.