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State Attorney General, Icac Task Force Launch Children's Safety Awareness Campaign in Utah

May 25 marked the 25th anniversary of National Missing Children's Day.

For 25 years, residents nationwide have been asked to remember 6-year-old Etan Patz who disappeared on his way to school in New York.

For 25 years, the nation has been recognizing and remembering the thousands of families who have lost or are still searching for missing children.

Recently, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced the launch of the Take 25 campaign - a national public awareness campaign that urges parents to take 25 minutes with children to talk about ways to keep safe at home, school, out and about as well as on the Internet.

"In less time than it takes to watch 'The Simpsons,' parents and their children can learn how to stay safe and survive attacks from predators," pointed out Shurtleff.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has developed 25 ways to make youth safer for the campaign.

The safety campaign recommends that Carbon County adults:

•Make sure children in the household have a trusted adult to call if they're scared or have an emergency.

•Make sure to screen names and avoid revealing too much about children.

•Set up "what if" situations and ask children how they would respond should the potentially dangerous incidents occur.

The Take 25 campaign was kicked off with sixth graders at Viewmont Elementary School because the students have been getting Internet safety training since the children were in kindergarten, according to the attorney general's office.

"The good news is we're catching more people who are trying to hurt children," indicated Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force director Chris Ahearn. "The bad news is more people are still trying to hurt kids."

The ICAC task force also showed the students a new video called "The Survivor Diaries," a poignant presentation with personal stories about males being targeted and victimized on the Internet.

The video highlights the fact that 65 percent of all male teenagers are solicited on the Internet to meet someone they don't know. And 39 percent of the males in question never tell anyone about the solicitation.

"The person who can make the biggest difference is you. We can all be heroes by telling someone," stressed Max Rogers of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The clubs have been working with the ICAC Task Force to provide Internet safety presentations to Utah students.

Additional information regarding the Take 25 campaign may be accessed at www.takesafe.org.





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