Attorney General Candidate launches online child safety initiative

Pam Bucy announcing her eSm@rt Kids initiative Wednesday

A candidate for state Attorney General is promoting a program to teach Montana kids about online safety. Democratic candidate Pam Bucy unveiled her eSm@rt Kids initiative shortly before filing for the Attorney General’s office Wednesday in Helena.

Law enforcement officials of the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force demonstrated the eSm@rt presentation alongside Bucy. They spoke to a group of area children sitting behind Apple computers.

Helena Police Detective Bryan Fisher says the presentation teaches kids about staying safe online in a way their parents may not be able to.

“Kids of today basically know more about technology than their parents do, which is kind of scary,” Fisher said, adding child predators often use social networks to lure children.He says anywhere from 600 to 800 people in Montana are downloading child pornography from file sharing sites on a daily basis.

10 to 15 Montana officers are assigned at least part time to stopping online child abuse, but they can’t catch everyone. Candidate Pam Bucy says education programs like esm@rt can help teach the kids themselves about unsafe habits online. She wants this presentation given to every Junior High School in the state.

“And we want to make sure your parents hear this information so that every kid knows how to use their electronic devices, their iPad their phone and their Facebook pages as safely as possible,” Bucy said.

Another democratic Attorney General candidate, Jesse Laslovich, is also using child safety as part of his campaign. He says he will create a felony of child criminal endangerment if elected.

Also, this week current Attorney General Steve Bullock announced the creation of a new Children’s Justice Center. The center brings eight different programs together to focus resources on fighting child abuse and sexual assault.

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