In today's world, children face a myriad of dangers, from the age-old problem of bullying to the new issue of online predators. To ensure the safety and healthy development of our children, we must do what we can to protect them from likely threats.
The internet can be a wonderful educational resource, opening up the world to a child; unfortunately, it also has the ability to open up a world of danger. There are those who would use the internet to exploit and harm children. There are many things that can be done to promote safe venues for children to explore the internet through. Children must be taught safe internet practices, as they are taught basic safety in real life. Just as we teach our children to not approach strangers, we must also teach them that anyone can misrepresent themselves online. The world will never be free from danger, and so those with the ability to act must strive to put dangerous predators behind bars.
As a former Florida certified teacher, I have seen firsthand how problems with bullying can be detrimental to a child's intellectual and emotional development and prevent them from feeling safe and comfortable in their learning environment. I have championed anti-bullying education legislation and worked to make sure children and our schools have the tools necessary to combat these deeply traumatizing experiences. If children do not feel secure in their schools, at any age, they will not be able to learn effectively.
The government cannot act alone in protecting our children. The first line of defense has traditionally been families, who bear primary responsibility for the youngest members of our society. We must not infringe upon a parent's right to educate and instill unique values in their children. As a proud mother and grandmother, I understand the important role of children in families and the necessity of guarding and guiding them as they explore the world around them. In them, we see better versions of ourselves, and hope for them more than we could dream of for our own lives.
The safety of our children must be a priority for us all. I have fought to maintain the wellbeing of our children and will continue to do so in the future.