Police to present cyber safety talk for parents March 7 at La Jolla’s Muirlands Middle

In 2012, 60 online predators were arrested in San Diego, twice as many as the year before. To make parents more aware of the escalating situation, the La Jolla Cluster Association (LJCA) will host the Internet safety presentation, “What parents need to know,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7 in the auditorium at Muirlands Middle School, 1056 Nautilus St.

At the event, the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and San Diego Police Foundation will provide tools and resources to facilitate healthy choices for the first “online generation.” Officers will address issues of online predators, social networking and cyberbullying, so parents can guide their kids to safe and responsible use of today’s rapidly changing technology.

In a press release promoting the program, LJCA member Sharon Jones writes that today, tweens and teens are communicating even more online. Instead of online chat rooms, they use social media sites, such as Instagram, where the dangers are possibly even greater.

“Some 12 year olds attending La Jolla schools have ‘public’ Instagram accounts where strangers can ‘follow’ their postings day after day,” Jones writes. “Unfortunately, most parents are not thinking about this when they allow their children to open social media accounts. They don’t bother to check the privacy settings on their child’s account, track what their child (and their child’s friends) are posting, or check that their child’s followers are people their child actually knows.”

Jones suggests parents who cannot attend the presentation to review Safety Net: Smart Cyber Choices, an online resource at

Advance registration is required at the website

— just click on Muirlands Middle School on the left to RSVP.