In today’s world, it can be a frightening to try to ensure children stay safe and are well-informed about potential dangers on the internet.
There are many uncomfortable subjects parents are required to talk to their children about, and that’s why FBI victim specialist Karen Gale will visit the Newton Public Library to discuss the risks children face online. Gale will also share what parents and caregivers need to know to protect them.
The presentation is set from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 25 and will cover cyberbullying, online predators, sexting, exposure to inappropriate materials and privacy issues.
With more than 10 years of experience, Gale has provided services to victims of federal crimes. Gale has been a member of the FBI Victim Assistance Rapid Deployment Team since 2012, prompting her to deploy to several mass casualty incidents around the country, including the Sandy Hook school and Pulse Nightclub shootings.
Gale’s area of responsibility currently includes all FBI Resident Agencies in Iowa — Sioux City, Des Moines, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities, where she provides victim services to identified victims of federal crimes ranging from white collar crimes to crimes against children.
Gale has provided training and informational presentations to thousands of individuals, schools and businesses throughout Iowa.
Public services librarian Rebecca Klein said the event is the first of its kind at the NPL.
“It’s something that we are always hearing about on the news,” Klein said. “It’s on everyone’s minds as technology changes so often and so quickly.”
The internet has drastically changed the way people interact, socialize and define the world, according to Klein.
Youth today have access to in-depth knowledge, tools to express their creativity and the ability to interact with people from all over the world yet, along with offering a fascinating way to connect with the world, the Internet also offers many risks.
“Much of the content is geared toward adults, parents and guardians, teachers and adults who work directly with children,” Klein said. “I’m hoping parents are able to walk away with a better understanding. It can be overwhelming at times and they will need real tools to tackle a difficult subject.”
Staying well-informed about current issues, in order to understand what children and youth are experiencing on and off the internet will also help to safeguard kids.
“We have a collection of books and printed materials that are on special display in the library,” Klein said. “We have pulled these resources and included children’s’ books that break down these difficult adult topics.”
Youth today “live” through social networking. They use instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, KIK, webcams or blogging to define their lives. Gale said informing communities through presentations gives her a change of pace and the opportunity to connect with locals.
“My favorite parts about community outreach are, getting information to the communities in which I live and work, answering questions about concerns community members may have and demystifying the FBI,” Gale said. “Presenting to local communities also allows me to talk about issues near and dear to me, but also those that impact the community.”
Contact Kayla Singletary at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533