Los Angeles City Councilmembers Richard Alarcon and Tom LaBonge joined actor and law enforcement officer Erik Estrada, former model Kathy Ireland and Beford County, VA Sheriff Mike Brown to launch the Internet safety training program for kids, NetSmartz, at St. Charles Borromeo School in North Hollywood.
Councilmember Alarcon, a former State Senator and long-time advocate for child safety programs, has pledged to work with the Safe Surfin' Foundation and the California State Legislature to draft legislation aimed at including Internet safety education as part of the curriculum in California schools.
"We used to just have to tell our children not to talk to strangers on the street, but now, because of the Internet, child predators find our children even as they sit at home on the computer," said Councilmember Alarcon. "Make no mistake -- child predators are waiting for our kids online, and it's critical that our schools teach our kids how to be safe and responsible when they're on the Internet, just as they teach our kids how to hold hands when crossing the street or to call 9-1-1 in an emergency, and for parents to learn how to protect their children from possible harm that can come from innocent on-line chats, social networking sites or misuse of the Internet."
Erik Estrada said, "Internet safety education is our best defense in keeping our children from falling victim to Internet predators." Estrada has been actively involved in law enforcement since achieving his initial stardom in the long-running hit series "CHiPS", and for years has been involved efforts to protect children. Estrada is currently working with Sheriff Mike Brown of Bedford County, VA, his Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Safe Surfin' Foundation to promote Internet safety.
The Safe Surfin' Foundation provides educational materials nation-wide, free of charge to schools who request the program. The NetSmartz program is the only such educational approach approved by the Department of Justice. The Safe Surfin' Foundation Internet safety program is endorsed by the National Sheriffs' Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and the National White Collar Crimes Center as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.