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Safeguarding Children

Internet Safety
The Attorney General is proud to partner with NetSmartz Workshop to bring you the latest online safety resources. NetSmartz is an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that provides free, age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer online. The program is designed for children ages 5-17, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement. With resources such as videos, games, activity cards, and presentations, NetSmartz entertains while it educates.

As a parent or guardian, you should stay well-informed about current issues to understand what your children are experiencing online. Learn how to use the technologies they're using--social media sites and apps, webcams, and cell phones. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Remember to monitor mobile devices like cell phones, handheld games, and laptops.
  • Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social media use.
  • Have regular conversations with your children about online safety.

These tip sheets from NetSmartz are just a few of the resources available for you. Find more at www.NetSmartz.org.

Crime Prevention
The Attorney General has focused for many years on juvenile crime, looking at its root causes and what more we could do to give at-risk kids a fighting chance. The research is clear on the factors placing children at risk, e.g., poverty, poor academic achievement, low self-esteem, family violence, substance abuse, truancy, and teen pregnancy. The best hope for saving these children is to address the problems in their lives as early as possible.

Several years ago the Attorney General traveled around the State highlighting prevention and early intervention programs which do just that. Dedicated, caring people all over Maryland work against tremendous odds to help at-risk children avoid delinquency and experience success. Some programs keep kids in school and help them overcome academic obstacles. Others focus on keeping kids off drugs and persuading them not to have babies while they are still children themselves. Many give teens something fun or enriching to do after school to help them stay out of trouble. Still others address the violence some children experience in their own homes.

The programs vary in focus and approach, but many of the most effective have a mentoring component. This is no accident. The research is compelling - mentoring really helps. Providing children who desperately need it with a caring, stable adult in their lives can produce astounding results. For example, studies show the support and guidance of a mentor can reduce truancy by 50%. Such support and guidance increase graduation and college enrollment rates and decrease the likelihood of substance abuse and violent behavior. For kids already in trouble, they reduce recidivism by an astonishing 80%.

Youth Smoking
As a result of a 1996 lawsuit versus Big Tobacco, Maryland has already received in excess of $400 million and will continue to receive billions more. Since the 1998 settlement, youth access to tobacco products in Maryland has decreased by 13.5 percent. But, we are not done. We are continuing our efforts to curb youth smoking. The Office conducted "sting" operations in 2001 revealing a high number of successful cigarette purchase attempts by minors, and announced a statewide partnership with law enforcement in every Maryland county and Baltimore City that will educate tobacco retailers about the laws governing the sale of tobacco products to minors and instruct them how to train their sales personnel how to comply with the laws. Furthermore, we joined 39 other states in negotiating a binding agreement with Walgreens requiring the national drug store chain to comply with certain best practices to avoid selling cigarettes to children. In December 2001, we entered into a partnership with the University of Maryland School of Law's Center for Tobacco Regulation, which will enable us to work cooperatively to combat this major health crisis. Download a PDF copy of the Tobacco Retailers Guide to Reducing Youth Access to Tobacco Products(96KB, 12 pages).

Read about the Attorney General's Program to Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco.


Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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