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Former TV star visits Tri-Cities, raising awareness of internet safety

By Karissa Manis, Producer, kmanis@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 13 2013 09:41:30 PM CST
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

Internet predators are everywhere. In fact, according to the FBI, there's a one-hundred percent chance of a child meeting a predator in a chat room.
"It does scare me, it's not just in the big cities, it's in the small towns too," says parent Denise Painter.

And that's why an organization called 'Safe Surfin' has made the movie "Finding Faith". It focuses on internet safety and crimes against children.
     First Baptist Church in Kingsport aired the film Wednesday evening.
"Trying to just help people understand that while the internet has wonderful possibilities, there are also dangers lurking out there if children don't have proper supervision while they're on the internet," Pastor Marvin Cameron says.

Actor Erik Estrada, known for his leading role in the late 70s and early 80s hit TV series "Chips", is the international spokesperson and also stars in the film.
    He told News 5 why this is such an important role.
"As we're talking, children right now at home, or on their smart phone, or computers at home...being groomed by online sexual predators. And war has not been declared on the internet and it should be. It should've been years ago," Estrada says.

Officers say the best way to protect your child is by monitoring not only the computer, but monitoring their cell phone as well.
"The main thing we're trying to do is make parents be aware of what their children do, we encourage the computer to be in a internal location and parents can be aware of who kids communicate with online," says Tom Patton with the Kingsport Police Department.

Which is why mother of two Denise Painter says, she always monitors her children's internet access.
"I have restrictions on his iPod and on his phone. You can go in the restrictions area and pick out what age level to set stuff through," Painter says.

Actor Erik Estrada is traveling around the country all year to present the film.
He tells News 5 he wants to show as many parents and teenagers as possible.

For more information about the film, or about safe surfin' visit their websites:

http://findingfaithfilm.com/about/

 http://safesurfin.org/