Beebe sees Asa's largely empty proposal yesterday to help seniors and raises him with his own bucket of froth. Is he courageous, or what? He proposes to protect kids from Internet sexual predators.
Full, and we do mean full, news release on the jump. Note: If the sight of the facilitator-speak word "stakeholder" is to you like garlic to a vampire, you won't want to read further.
Beebe campaign news release
BEEBE ANNOUNCES 'PROTECTING KIDS, PROMOTING VALUES' PLAN
(LITTLE ROCK) - Attorney General and Gubernatorial nominee Mike Beebe announced his ‘Protecting Kids, Promoting Values,' campaign today, a plan to coordinate a cooperative effort to protect Arkansas children from Internet predators and promote safety and online values among the state's young people.
One in five American youth receive a sexual approach or solicitation on the Internet over a year's time, according to a study conducted by the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. That equates to four children out of every Arkansas classroom sexually accosted on the internet over a 12-month period.
"If child predators plan to go online and prey on our children, we have a message for them: ‘stay out of Arkansas,' " Beebe said. "As attorney general, I fought to keep our kids safe. As governor, I'll bring all our state's resources to bear on this problem - punishing the predators while protecting and educating our kids."
For the "Protecting Kids, Promoting Values" initiative, Beebe plans to bring together a roundtable, the first of its kind, of different stakeholders, including law enforcement, parents, educators, peer leaders, grassroots organizations and child psychology and health care professionals to pool and coordinate state and family resources for online child safety.
Beebe's team would include representatives of Arkansas law enforcement, the Attorney General, representatives of the Parent-Teacher Association, representatives of Arkansas educators, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, peer-to-peer advocates and child-health professionals.
The goal of the group would be to pool resources in a collaborative effort to protect children by keeping online predators off the Internet and educating children, parents and teachers about online abuse - its prevention, detection and recovery - and the value of online safety.
Beebe will suggest the program to the Arkansas Fraternal Order of Police meeting, Friday.
Because online child exploitation may involve either the predator or victim in Arkansas and the other in a different state or even different country, the proliferation of Internet offenders is growing at alarming rates.
"We must stay vigilant and aggressive," Beebe said. "The situation is staggering."
In a year's time, one in 33 youth receives an aggressive sexual solicitation, meaning a predator asked a young person to meet somewhere, called a young person on the phone and/or sent the young person correspondence, money or gifts through the mail, according to the CACRC study. But only one in four of the children who encountered a sexual approach or solicitation told a parent.
Prevention is as much a key as prosecution, according to Beebe.
As attorney general, Beebe made child safety online a priority for his office. He hosted a Child Safety Fair, held a statewide law enforcement training for protecting children online and created the Mentor Arkansas program, designed to encourage individuals and corporate citizens to participate in the lives of Arkansas' youth.
POTENTIAL STAKEHOLDERS FOR BEEBE'S
'PROTECTING KIDS, PROMOTING VALUES' PLAN
Arkansas State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Division - representing a division of state law enforcement dedicated to children's Internet safety and the state's 24-hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free hotline for child mistreatment
Arkansas Fraternal Order of Police - representing local police departments across the state
Arkansas Sheriff's Association - representing sheriffs and sheriffs' deputies across the state
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force - representing state and federal enforcement as a branch of the national effort to combat the threat of offenders who use the Internet to sexually exploit children
Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Education Association - representing educators across the state
Internet safety instruction ought to be a prerequisite for school-provided Internet access. Teachers should be offered professional development opportunities by their school district to understand the importance of media literacy on the Internet and how to teach it.
The Arkansas Parent Teacher Association - representing parents across the state
Parent Teacher Associations across Arkansas could offer programs to parents or guardians on instruction for Internet safety, how to detect abuse and where to report it and find counseling.
State and Private Sector Child Psychology and Health Professionals
Other applicable public and private stakeholders and partnerships - including groups like the Greenbrier Internet Predator Awareness Team and peer leaders on the issue like former Miss Teen Arkansas and Internet Safety Activist Jill Bridges of Magnolia.