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Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009 05:57 pm

SAFETY NET

Surprising and scary — that’s the only way to describe the latest statistics to come out of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.

Madigan recently surveyed 4,200 Illinois schoolchildren in third through 12th grade to see if the youngsters are using cell phones and Internet technology. Last week her office released the results, which show that nearly 90 percent of the students who are 14 years and older have cameras on their cell phones and can send text messages. The survey also finds that out of this age group:

Almost 41 percent have received an inappropriate picture of someone online and more than 43 percent have said something inappropriate to someone online.

More than 27 percent have been threatened by someone online and nearly 30 percent have felt uncomfortable with a conversation they had online.

These results were released during the attorney general’s first Cyber Safety Summit, a statewide effort to discuss youth’s access to the Internet and to develop strategies to protect them from online dangers like predators. The complete survey results can be found at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.
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