Local News

Knightdale Grandmother Sets Sights on Cyberspace Safety

Posted May 7, 2007 10:13 p.m. EDT
Updated May 8, 2007 1:19 p.m. EDT

— Mary Conyers came out of retirement with one goal in mind: To keep kids safe online. She got the idea after watching her own granddaughters try to navigate the treacherous virtual waters of cyberspace.

So far, the Knightdale grandmother has started a non-profit called "Protect Every Child,” which has distributed hundreds of free DVDs to help schools and parents educate their kids about being safe online.

The DVD includes the basics — don't talk to strangers and don't share personal information. These rules seem simple, but young computer-users violate them every day.

One girl who won’t violate those rules is Conyers’ 16-year-old granddaughter, Whitney.

“I pretty much keep my stuff private and try not to put out too much information,” Whitney said. “I don't talk to anyone I don't know. All my friends on my buddy list are people I know from school and stuff.”

As Conyers sees it, parents protect their children in many other areas of life, but not enough when it comes to the Internet.

“You wouldn't let your son or daughter leave the driveway until they know all of the rules about driving and make sure they follow them,” she said. “The same thing is true of the Internet.”

Conyers believes the Internet has become a virtual playground for child sex offenders.

“There's no way that law enforcement can ever catch every sex offender or online predator. I think we've got to do that through the kids. They can slam the door and lock it,” she said.

Conyers said she has received 600 requests for the DVD in the past three weeks from 41 states and several other countries. She is trying to raise money to accommodate everyone.