CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — About 20 parents, teachers, librarians, children's services and police professionals along with a Facebook employee attended a roundtable discussion with U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller Thursday on protecting children from Internet predators and bullies.
They talked a lot and came up with ideas but no real solutions.
Prompting the discussion at Washington High School was a report last year of an Eastern Panhandle middle school student who Rockefeller said committed suicide after being cyberbullied on the Internet.
"This is huge," said Rockefeller, D-W.Va. "The Internet can destroy a young person's life."
He said he has been holding similar roundtables around the state about the dangers to children being on the Internet, Facebook and other social networking Web sites and wireless communication devices.
It has "created an explosion of information that anyone can charge into. Children think there's nothing wrong with putting themselves and their photos on Facebook," he said.
Terrorism like the Sept. 11 attacks is not as big a threat to national security as the Internet, Rockefeller said. A cyber attack can shut down anything.
"A smart 15-year-old kid can shut down a (public) water system or a grid system. It can become a lethal instrument. It can shut down the nation. You don't have to take down two big buildings to scare America."