Former FBI agent wants to keep kids safe from online predators

It’s no secret that predators use social media to target children.

As a parent, it’s a constant worry that your child may be viewing inappropriate messages online or communicating with someone who could be dangerous.

According to the FBI, predators are everywhere online and working hard to engage, groom and manipulate kids.

In an effort to help parents protect their children from online predators, the Malouf Foundation is inviting the community to attend a Family Online Safety Training event.

The focus of the event is to educate the protectors of children on the tactics, apps and everything a child predator uses to prey on kids, especially online,” said Jake Neeley, Malouf Communications Director.

The training will be conducted by Jason Weis, a former FBI undercover agent, whose work as a detective led to arrests and convictions of sex offenders. Weis and his wife created The Demand Project in Oklahoma, which works to end the sexual exploitation of children. Weis has spent considerable time in his law enforcement career with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, assisting Homeland Security and other agencies in an effort to crack down on online child sexual predators.

“I think the Malouf Foundation is doing a tremendous service to the community,” according to Joan Liquin, from the Cache County Children’s Justice Center.

Liquin, who will be attending the event, said three out of every four cases investigated at the Center stem from a sexual abuse allegation.

“We have seen increasing cases where kids are being solicited on the internet,” said Liquin.

“Social media is just embedded in our culture. Pornography is a huge issue.” She added, “I don’t think many parents realize that 9 years old is the average age for a child to see pornography, it is a scary thing.”

Part of the training will include educating parents on how predators target your children and what types of smart phone and computer apps are available to combat perpetrators.

Cache County Sheriff Chad Jensen will also be on hand to answer questions.

The event will be held Tuesday, April 30, at Logan High School from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

It is free to the public.

The Malouf Foundation is the charitable arm of Malouf, a premium bedding company headquartered in Cache Valley. “Our flagship cause is to rescue and shelter sexually exploited and trafficked children. Additionally, we work to stop physical and sexual abuse, while supporting other humanitarian efforts,” according to its mission statement.

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