Internet-related security and safety issues and the growing rise in human trafficking were addressed Nov. 5 at the fourth annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium.More than 300 Catholic school students, parents and educators attended the symposium this week, co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and held at The California Endowment in Los Angeles. The event offered cyber-safety workshops and panel discussions with presenters that included representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement and child advocacy groups. “Every year it’s gotten better, and every year it’s different because technology advances so quickly that we end up having to add new technologies, new crimes and new issues,” said Tracy Webb, deputy city attorney in the cyber crime and child abuse prosecution division of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. Her “What the Tech?” workshop for adults — there were separate breakout sessions for adults, high school students and middle school students — included information on Internet-facilitated crimes against children, human trafficking via the Internet, sexting, geo-tagging technology and malware dangers, among other cyber-safety concerns.“The hot new issue this year, unfortunately, is probably human trafficking and the way that predators and others use the Internet to meet potential human trafficking victims,” noted Webb. An adult workshop on “Cyber Risks and Adolescents” highlighted the latest research on Internet predation, cyber bullying and sexting and presented practical recommendations for parents, teachers and other concerned adults.“I heard students coming out of several sessions saying: ‘Look at how many notes we have taken!’” said Suzanne Healy, archdiocesan director of assistance ministry and symposium planning committee member. “There have been lots of information, lots of things for participants to take back” to their communities.Healy added that more than 60 Catholic schools sent representatives — up from 41 schools last year that sent teachers and students to the symposium.“The children pick up a lot of things here,” said Yolie Salido, a school parent from St. Gregory the Great in Whittier who attended last year. “I’m not Internet-savvy whatsoever, but I’m learning, by just coming here, that I need to be more aware” about cyber safety, said the self-described member of the Pacman generation.“The one big thing that I’m very focused on is bringing a lot of this back,” said Jayne Quinn, principal at St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood, “not just to our children, but to our parents, realizing how uneducated some of our parents are, and how hungry they are to know some of the things that I’m hearing.”“I think it’s great for our students because it really wakes them up to a lot of things they might not be aware of that are probably going on around them, but they probably don’t know the consequences of these things,” said Robert Fraley, vice principal at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello.Elizabeth Jareno, a Virtus (Protecting God’s Children) facilitator at Holy Family parish in Glendale, said she has all her notes from last year’s symposium and commented that this year’s first morning session had updated cyber safety information that she wanted to distribute in the parish.“It’s a big difference from last year to this year,” said Jareno. “It’s a good resource for all of us, especially Virtus facilitators who come in contact directly with parents, volunteers, teachers and catechists — those who have direct contact with children, to let them know what’s happening on the Internet.”Joan Vienna, archdiocesan director of the Office of Family Life and Safeguard the Children, said she is amazed how sophisticated and complicated cyber crime has become in the last few years. “We have to get the knowledge we need about this, and we just have to stay with it because we are the voice out there to get this information out to the community,” said Vienna.The surprise guest speaker, Dylan Riley Snyder from Disney’s “Kickin’ It” TV series, spoke about Internet safety and social media to a pre-lunch student assembly, where many in the audience were holding up their smart phones taking photos and video-recording the celebrity.“Take care of what you post online — this includes all your pictures, your tweets, your posts to Facebook, any text messages that you send back and forth,” advised the teenage actor. “You also want to make sure that if anybody is posting something [negative] about you — or if something [like a comment] is offensive or harmful to you in any way, that you take some sort of action.”That action could mean asking a parent for help, or asking the person who posted the material to take it down, counseled Snyder, a home-schooled eleventh grader who told the students he is very interested in science and math and hopes one day to become an engineer. Katelyn Barela, a seventh grader from St. Thomas More School in Alhambra waiting in line to get Snyder’s autograph, said she appreciated the symposium’s focus on ways to combat cyber bullying, affecting an estimated 20 percent of young people, according to studies of Internet-using adolescents.“I liked [the message] about how to stand up for some people who are being bullied on the Internet,” said Barela. “Instead of being a part of that, you can stand up against the people who did it.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/1109/cyber/{/gallery}