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Ads warn girls of dangers online



DALLAS – Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced a new public-service campaign Monday that will warn teenage girls against posting information on the Internet that could put them at risk of attack by child predators.

“Every day, these predators are looking for someone to hurt,” Gonzales said at the 18th annual Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas. “Every day, we must educate parents and children about the threat.”

About 2,700 law enforcement officials from around the world are attending the conference, which runs through Thursday.

“We want the front-line professionals to be able to go back to their communities to protect the children in their communities,” Gonzales said. “This conference brings folks together from all parts of the world and gets them talking with each other.”

A third of this year’s 180 workshops are focusing on Internet crime, said Lynn Davis, president and CEO of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, which is hosting the conference with the Dallas Police Department.

The ad campaign by the Department of Justice, in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Ad Council, will begin running early next year.

“It’s all part of the ongoing effort to educate the public about this very serious threat,” Gonzales said.

According to a Justice Department study, 1 in 7 children using the Internet has been sexually solicited and 1 in 3 has been exposed to unwanted sexual material. One in 11 has been harassed.

One ad that warned about the dangers online was developed in 2004, giving advice to parents on how to protect their children from Internet predators. A second series of ads in 2005 warned teen girls about forming online relationships with people they don’t know.

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