Internet Safety Talk in Biddeford, Maine tonight


Cyber Crime Expert Focuses Addresses Parents On Social Networking Safety

June, 2010 – Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA) and WHOA-KTD (Kids/Teens Division) are pleased to announce that their president, Jayne A. Hitchcock , noted cyber crime and security expert and author of eight books, will be the featured speaker at Biddeford High School.

On Wednesday, June 1st, from 6 pm to 8 pm Hitchcock’s “Sexting, Texting, Chatting...OH MY!” presentation will be given in the BMS Auditorium at Biddeford High School, 20 Maplewood Avenue, Biddeford, Maine, for parents to learn about online safety for their kids. Hitchcock’s focus is on educating and helping those who use the Internet to stay safer online with a special emphasis on the greatest threats to kids and teens today, including harassment, bullies, sexting, texting, predators and social networking sites such as Facebook.

“Remember when you were young – you thought you were invulnerable,” Hitchcock notes. “Now, with the Internet, kids and teens think nothing bad can ever happen to them. I plan on showing them how wrong they are and how to stay safer online, especially on web sites such as Myspace and Facebook. I don’t want to see one of them listed as ‘missing’ on the TV news.”

“Too many parents freak out or ban their children from certain parts of the Internet when their child tells them a stranger IM’d or emailed them,” Hitchcock notes. “That is the worst thing they can do. So is telling their child they cannot have a Myspace or Facebook account. Parents need to learn how to live with the Internet – it’s not going away and it’s an invaluable tool their children use every day for school, for socializing and for playing games.”

Under Hitchcock’s leadership, WHOA has developed a proprietary database of reliable cyberstalking demographic criteria, based on 2,739 cyberstalking cases of which 220 occurred in 2009, and females continue to be the primary victims. Cyberstalkers can be difficult to stop and their methods include many forms. Social networking sites (such as Facebook and Myspace) get mixed reviews on safety issues. Participating safely in any social site depends on the amount of information that is made available to the general public. There is no doubt predators look for victims and that predators present themselves to be innocent, harmless would-be friends. On the positive side, social networking sites provide an opportunity to communicate all across the world and develop friendships that would otherwise never have been possible. Other forms of cyberstalking could be email that is often threatening or obscene, spamming that includes sending a multitude of junk email, live chat harassment (verbal abuse), flaming, leaving improper messages on message boards or in guest books intended to humiliate and diminish a victim, sending electronic viruses, sending unsolicited e-mail, registering a victim’s name with porno sites, tracing another person's computer and Internet activity, and electronic identity theft.

For victims suffering psychological trauma, online stalking is every bit as terrifying as offline stalking because the victim never knows when the online stalking may escalate to offline stalking. According to Hitchcock, “it’s like waiting for that other shoe to drop – victims stay in a tense state of watchful waiting.” Victims may demonstrate mood changes and severe depression, social dysfunction, insomnia and eating pattern changes, nightmares, hyper vigilance, anxiety, and they may appear fearful.

For more information about this conference call (207) 282-8280.

WHOA president, Jayne A. Hitchcock, is a cybercrime expert who trains law enforcement from the local to federal levels, and assists the US Department of Justice Office (USDJO) for Victims of Crime and National Center for Victims of Crime. She trains advocate groups, conducts seminars, raises awareness of cybercrime and harassment, and lectures educators, librarians, parents and students at middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities about the dangers of cyberbullies, online predators, cyberstalkers and social networking sites. She has appeared as an expert in various media, including America’s Most Wanted, PEOPLE magazine, Primetime Thursday with Diane Sawyer, TIME magazine, the Associated Press, Cosmopolitan magazine, A&E’s Investigative Reports, 48 Hours, Ladies Home Journal, Campus Security Reports, Inside Edition, Good Morning America and CNN. Her latest book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors 2nd edition (, highlights online crimes, how to be safer online and what to do if you are victimized. Video Professor also released a 3-CD tutorial based on the book.

WHOA is the oldest and largest all-volunteer online safety organization helping adult victims of online harassment and cyber stalking since February, 1997. WHOA-KTD was added in 2005 to help online victims under the age of 18, their parents and other adults interested in keeping kids and teens safer online.


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