May 13, 2009

Training sessions planned on Internet safety

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Whether it’s researching, paying bills, chatting, “tweeting,” or something else, most everyone makes use of the Internet in some form or fashion. The World Wide Web is an amazing resource if used safely, and thanks to a pair of grants, a push for Internet safety is happening in Southern Illinois.

The two-phase program involves Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Connect SI and John A. Logan College. It begins with i-SAFE Internet safety training sessions designed for law enforcement, educators and community members. Phase two involves forming and training an Internet safety speakers bureau to take the message throughout the region.

A $9,400 Verizon Foundation Internet Safety Grant, administered through the Southern Illinois Coal Belt Champion Community, will fund three training sessions, each at the John A. Logan College Conference Center in Carterville. Each has a different focus group: educators, law enforcement or community members. It’s all part of Project NetWise, a community-based Internet safety initiative from Connect SI.

Educators can attend the training session “NetWise Teaching: Safer, Smarter, More Secure,” from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 9. Early registration, due by May 22, is $40 per person and registration after that date is $50 per person. Participants will learn about the new Illinois Internet Safety Act, safe online practices, cyber-bullying and much more. Presenters from i-SAFE Inc., a globally recognized Internet safety non-profit foundation, will assure those attending have the information they need to teach the seven topics the Illinois Internet Safety Act requires.

The fee covers lunch and breaks. Educators will also be able to network with one another. They’ll also get Continuing Professional Development Units credit, i-SAFE certification, Internet safety materials and resources, access to more than 350 lesson plans, continuing Internet safety lessons and speakers bureau training.

“NetWise Communities: Takin’ Internet Safety to the Streets” is the title of the two half-day programs, with the morning session for law enforcement personnel and the afternoon session for community members, on June 10. The session for anyone involved in law enforcement is 9 a.m. until noon. This will be a condensed version of the full-day training session and it still includes i-SAFE certification, Internet safety materials and resources, continuing Internet safety lessons and speakers’ bureau training. It’s a free conference but you need to register by May 22 to assure a seat.

Anyone is welcome to attend the community session 1-4 p.m. that day. It covers the same material as the morning session and offers the same benefits. The cost is $20 if you register by May 22 or $30 after that date.

The Internet training offered normally costs about $150 per person, but the grants are covering a significant portion of the fee, according to Kristan Simonton, AmeriCorp VISTA economic and community development coordinator for Connect SI. She notes that schools must comply with the Internet Safety Act for grades three-12 by the 2009-2010 school year. This training meets the requirement.

You can register online now for any of the three training sessions at or For more information, contact Simonton at 618/453-5921 or via e-mail at

“Once again, Verizon has demonstrated its commitment to Southern Illinois residents with this generous support,” said Kathy Lively, executive director of Connect SI and CEO of Man-Tra-Con Corp. “We look forward to partnering with the Verizon Foundation on future endeavors.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois has awarded grants totaling $5,850. That includes $3,600 for training to develop an Internet safety speakers bureau. Anyone can join this bureau, volunteering their time to take what they’ve learned about Internet safety to schools, community organizations and anyone who is willing to listen. There’s also $2,250 for marketing, materials, and conference resources for the training.

Those joining the Internet safety speakers bureau will participate in a free one-day training session set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on June 23 at John A. Logan College. The only requirement is that those participating in this training and joining the speakers bureau must first complete a session of the NetWise training June 9 or 10.

ConnectSI is a collaborative, regional initiative for 20 Southern Illinois counties. The goal is spurring economic development through access to broadband Internet. Project NetWise is the Internet safety component of the program.

“We are so fortunate to have both private sector support from the Verizon Foundation and public sector support from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern Illinois District to help us make the Internet a safer and more secure tool for regional growth,” said Rex Duncan, director of community development and outreach with the Office of Economic and Regional Development at SIUC. “Connect SI is all about collaboration and the people who are making Project NetWise successful are collaborating to the fullest in the fight against those who use the Internet to harm our most vulnerable citizens.”

For more information about Project NetWise look online at or go to and click on Project NetWise. Additional details about i-SAFE, Inc. are on the Web site