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Are Your Children Venturing Through the Seedy Side of the Internet?

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RALEIGH — Police say an Ahoskie man used the Internet to lure a 14-year-old girl from Cary into a rendezvous.

Warrants charge that Paul Keith Perry used a personal computer to entice the girl to meet him, and subsequently engage in sex with him. Perry is being held in the Wake County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Perry and his victim apparently carried on the online relationship for more than a month. The incident raises many questions from parents about how to make sure their child is not involved in the dangerous side of the Internet.

There are several gadgets parents can buy to shield their children on the Internet, but they are not foolproof. There are also other techniques discovered in classrooms across North Carolina.

A class atLigon Middle Schoolin Raleigh has already learned the Internet can be a scary place for kids.

"Actually I've received an e-mail, which was inappropriate," says eighth grader Michael Robertson. "Basically, it was an advertisement for a product that was not suitable."

There are a number of safeguards that children and their parents have already taken. For one, there is software available that can filter out a lot of bad sites. Plus, many students know a few tricks of their own.

"Well if it's absolutely necessary, I would type in incorrect information, so that no one could access information to my personal computer, or my home," Robertson said.

Ann Thompson, Ligon's computer teacher, gives her students a good dose of common sense when it comes to meeting people on the Internet.

"I perceive the Internet as being similar to going to the mall alone and unsupervised," Thompson said. "So that if you were in the mall, you would avoid strangers, you would not take money from them, and you would not give them money."

But the students also say they are not the only ones who need to be on the lookout.

"A lot of kids' parents are not as involved, and their parents don't check the Web sites that they go into," says sixth grader Jacob Wolf.

Experts say that is good advice, and want to remind parents to keep a close eye on how their computers are really being used - seven days a week.

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children has aWeb sitewith numerous safety tips for parents whose children surf the Internet.


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