Nearly 400 parish leaders from all five pastoral regions attended a Sept. 25 workshop on “Today’s Internet and Technology Safety” at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Conference Center.Sponsored by the archdiocese’s Office of Safeguard the Children in collaboration with the L.A. City Attorney’s Office and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the event covered the latest developments and challenges in Internet safety, social networking, cyber bullying and “sexting.”“The Internet has become the number one tool of perpetrators of child sexual abuse to make contact with their victims,” said Joan Vienna, archdiocesan coordinator of Safeguard the Children and conference presenter. “As leaders and educators in child sexual abuse prevention, we need to address the challenges and dangers involved in today’s use of technology and understand the implications of the increase in online bullying, sexting, social networking and other issues that are affecting our children and young people in today’s world of electronic communications.”She shared with a diverse group of parish staff, educators, catechists and archdiocesan Safeguard the Children volunteers that the archdiocese’s Safe Environment Office is emphasizing Internet and technology safety this year in its child and youth protection programs for children and adults.Fellow guest speaker Ana Cody, senior manager for outreach and special projects at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, introduced the latest version of the center’s free bilingual (English/Spanish) NetSmartz Internet Safety Program Training Resource for elementary schools and religious education students. More than 300 digital copies of NetSmartz were distributed at the conference. Tracy Webb, senior trial deputy in charge of cyber crime and child abuse prosecution, L.A. City Attorney’s Office, presented an overview of developments and challenges in Internet and technology safety, with a focus on how to protect against hackers’ use of malicious software (malware) that can take control over a computer and even manipulate its webcam without the owner’s knowledge. As a precaution, Webb suggested that people cover up their webcam with black electrical tape when they are not using it. “Tracy urged all of us to get the knowledge we need to protect young people,” commented Vienna, who noted that technology is an important part of ministry today requiring an education in the safe use of Internet and technology tools. Symposium set Nov. 8The fifth annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium for students, educators and parents will take place Nov. 8 in downtown Los Angeles.Workshops on cyber bullying, social media and Internet dangers, “sextortion,” cyber-related legal challenges and digital reputation will be presented by representatives from the FBI, L.A. City and U.S. Attorney's Offices, local law enforcement, UCLA Medical Center and the Anti-Defamation League.“The Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium is a great resource for parents and educators, and specifically tailors content sessions to students’ interests and needs,” said Dr. Kevin Baxter, archdiocesan superintendent of elementary schools.The symposim (8 a.m.-3:15 p.m.) will take place at the California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles. The event is free, with breakfast and lunch included, but reservations are necessary and space per school is limited. For information, visit www.ican4kids.org/issues_CSEC_Cyber_Crime.asp.For more information on Safeguard the Children resources, contact Joan Vienna at  HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]" [email protected] {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1011/childprotection/{/gallery}