Expert says keeping children safe online starts with parents

Internet predators like to wait chatrooms, ready to pounce on unsuspecting kids.  Experts say keeping them at bay is a job that for parents that requires an education on what's going on in cyberspace.

John Simi has been trying spread the message of internet safety to parents for over a year.

"You see more and more stories about kids who are meeting people online," he said.

Simi conducts seminars for parents of Shelby County School students about what their kids are doing online.  He said in this case of two girls raped Monday, the online communication went way too far.

"Obviously in a situation like this there had to be some dialogue exchanged," Simi said, "to give an address to give where they were located, what time to come over, when you can sneak in."
Simi offered these tips to keep your child safe while online:
     -Keep the computer in a common room of your home, never in a child's bedroom.
     -Make sure you know everyone on your child's buddy list.. .If they have one.
     -Don't answer emails or instant messages from someone you don't know.
     -Never give personal information out online

Simi said the period where an internet predator is gets to know your child is called the "grooming process."  It could take months; long enough to build up the kind of trust it takes to let a predator right in a bedroom window.