FBI Pittsburgh
Public Affairs Officer Bradford Arick
(412) 576-9396
April 12, 2024

FBI Hosts Online Safety Program in West Virginia

FBI, local churches partnering to help parents and children stay protected from online predators

The Charleston, West Virginia, Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Pittsburgh Division, Nine Rivers District of the West Virginia United Methodist Conference, and Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church are joining together to host the “Online Safety Starts With You” program on Saturday, April 20, 2024. The event will be held at the Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church in Hurricane, WV.

“Educating not only parents on what to look for, but also children who are using these online platforms in their daily life, is the absolute first step to keeping everyone safe online,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Kevin Rojek. “Many families do not understand how technology can make them vulnerable to predators. Our hope is that everyone leaves this event knowing when warning signs might start showing up and the exact steps to take to keep children safe.”

Geared toward families, parents, and children, Special Agents from the FBI’s West Virginia Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force will offer two presentations on how to keep children safe online. The first presentation will be for youth ages 8-18 at 10:00 a.m. The second session will be for parents, guardians, and educators at 11:15 a.m. During the adult session, the FBI’s Community Outreach Program will sponsor activities for youth, including games focusing on learning about fingerprints and fitness. The FBI will also provide Child ID cards, free of charge.

Note: The adult session may contain content and themes that may not be appropriate for youth. Parental discretion is advised.

In this program, FBI officials will cover social media, digital footprints, cyberbullying, extortion, and current trends criminals are using to target and manipulate children. Parents will have the opportunity to hear directly from FBI Special Agents investigating online crimes who will demonstrate how gaming systems, social media platforms, and online communications systems have been used by predators in West Virginia. Guidance will be offered in order for parents, caregivers, and families to protect children from being victimized.

“Online Safety Starts with You” is free and open to the public. You’re encouraged to share this information with any interested parties or individuals.

Pre-registration is encouraged. Please visit this link for more information and to register for the event: https://forms.fbi.gov/OnlineSafetyWV