LOS ANGELES – The United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and a coalition of other law enforcement agencies and community organizations are hosting the 9th Annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium on Monday, October 16. More than 450 educators, parents, and middle and high school students are expected to attend the daylong conference at the California Endowment Center for Healthy Communities in Los Angeles.
The Symposium will address a wide range of Internet-related security and safety issues. Speakers will address and lead discussions on topics that include child exploitation, cyberbullying, the implications of digital communication on teen health, digital reputation, navigating peer pressure, social media, sexting and sextortion. This year’s Symposium will feature a youth panel presentation on social media, a SnapChat geotag and a surprise appearance during the lunch break by celebrity guests from Disney.
“The internet and social media are a core component of our everyday lives. Because the internet is such an integral part of their relationships, young people must have tools to understand the online environment, the responsibilities they have to themselves and others, and the perils of reckless behavior,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “This Symposium will provide young people with important information that will help them avoid danger while engaging with others online.”
“I’m proud that the FBI has been part of this annual event for nine years, during which we’ve seen the rules associated with the internet and cyber security evolve dramatically,” said Danny Kennedy, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “In 2017, our children must deal with traditional challenges such as peer pressure and bullying, but we also expect them to navigate their way through the latest technology. A byproduct of this event has always been that the FBI learns a great deal from the students too, as we endeavor to teach them the latest tools that can make a difference in their lives.”
As part of this year’s event, theater students from California State University, Northridge will perform a cyber-related skit for students and interact with the audience in a “Write-Around” exercise addressing current issues such as sexting and cyberbullying.
Student teams from each of the schools attending this year’s Symposium will also be invited to participate in the annual Cyber Safety Challenge. Participating students will be asked to develop a cyber safety program for their respective schools to educate the entire student body on the various risks associated with cyber crime. The contest promotes good online etiquette by challenging students to create cyber safety programs. Students participating in this challenge will have their contest entries judged by a panel of experts, and the winning school will be awarded prizes in May 2018.
“The cyber world can be a wonderfully enlightening place, but it can also be a dangerous one, especially for children,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “My office is proud to work with our law enforcement partners to find ways to make the web safer.”
Organized under the aegis of the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN), law enforcement agencies participating in tomorrow’s conference include the United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). The Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium is hosted this year by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the planning committee also includes participation by Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, the Anti-Defamation League, Fox Entertainment Group, the Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“Children who are growing up in this high-tech age are being targeted by online predators at an alarmingly high rate,” said Deanne Tilton Durfee, Executive Director for the ICAN. “Each year, this Symposium provides participants with resources and tools to help children learn how to protect themselves and be safe in the cyber world, while enjoying all of the benefits of the fast-growing technologies.”