Beginning in 2008, a cyberbullying training program for junior high and high school personnel will be offered by the Illinois Attorney General Office. AG Lisa Madigan announced this new 90-minute training program at the third annual Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force year-end meeting Monday.

With the rise of social networking and instant messaging, bullies have moved from the playground to the Internet, out of the sight and earshot of teachers and parents. Cyberbullying occurs when a child is harassed or targeted by peers online or via other digital devices and often can lead to violence. Nearly 60 percent of children state that someone has made mean or hurtful comments about them online. The Attorney General's 90-minute training program will demonstrate what cyberbullying is, how it happens and how educators can recognize signs and take action to thwart this practice.

"Protecting our children against dangers they face on the Internet is one of our greatest challenges," Madigan said. "By keeping up with the ways that children use technology to communicate with each other, our teachers, school administrators and police officers can work together to prevent bullying and violence."

Madigan's office operates the ICAC task force as part of a national program that was created to help state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative response to offenders who use the Internet and digital devices to sexually exploit children.

"From con artists to cyberbullies to online predators, the Internet unfortunately is popular with people who are looking for their next victim, many of them children," Madigan said. "We rely on our dedicated ICAC law enforcement officers to identify, arrest and convict these offenders."