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R.E.A.L. billboard campaign launched across Texas, and in Lubbock, addresses internet safety and children.

Billboard campaign aims to provide parents and kids with the resources and knowledge of how to avoid child exploitation.
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - There is now a billboard in West Lubbock, and more than 70 other cities across Texas, advocating for protecting our children online. It’s part of a statewide push to teach parents and kids about the hidden dangers on the internet. The campaign is called “R.E.A.L. friends don’t” and provides awareness and resources to those who need it about how to avoid child exploitation.

The Texas Governor’s Office has partnered with the McCain Institute and several local community leaders to highlight this campaign and create a safer environment for our youth.

“It’s going to take all of us to ensure that our children know what real friends do online, and what real friends don’t,” says Veronica Lowenberg, a member of the governor’s Child Sex Trafficking team. She says it’s time we get serious about a platform that is harboring so many predators.

“Our children are online every day, constantly, and I think it is super important for us to understand what it is they are reading, what they are doing.”

Lieutenant Leath McClure with the Lubbock Police agrees and says many parents don’t understand how at risk their children really are.

“I don’t think parents realize what is out there on social media and what their children actually have access to. I would encourage them to pay attention, check what they are doing, see what they are on, see what they are looking at, check their history, be involved.”

For the Lubbock community alone, he says the numbers speak for themselves.

“For the past three years, the Lubbock Police Department Special Victims Unit has investigated more than 400 cases involving online predators and children, a number that is truly staggering.” McClure said. “However, the truth is that even one investigation of a minor is one too many.”

The billboard will be in the parking lot of Fiesta Motors on Frankford avenue until the end of this year. If you would like more information on the R.E.A.L. Campaign, visit their website at realfriendsdont.org.

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