Wal-Mart Says Protecting Children Top Community Priority

Wednesday, December 1st 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Wal-Mart's gift to children this holiday season is a lesson in safe surfing on the web. 60,000 people come through the Wal-Mart store in Broken Arrow every week. Many of the shoppers include children accompanying their parents. Wal-Mart employees say protecting children is a top community priority. That's why the retailer has produced an Internet safety tips sheet for kids. "Children are becoming victims because of technology,” said Wal-Mart security risk manager Connie Noble. “It's largely due to the fact that kids are not taught how to protect themselves."

The information included on the tips sheet includes these suggestions for children to remember.

 I will not give out my name, address, school or other personal information.
 I will never get together with someone I meet on-line.
 I will never send a person my picture over the Internet.
 I will tell my parents if someone says something on-line that makes me uncomfortable.

Parents can't monitor their child's computer use 24 hours a day. "They don’t realize what the child is exposed to at a neighbor’s or friend’s house or even at school,” Noble said. “Some have computers at home. Single parents don't always know what their kids are exposed to while they're at work."

It might seem strange that Wal-Mart decided to issue the tips sheet, but the retailer sponsors several safety programs aimed at children. Every Wal-Mart store has a display featuring the pictures of missing children. The retailer also has a "Code Adam" in place company-wide in case a child gets lost. "Code Adam is announced over the intercom with a description of the child and all associates stop what they’re doing to look for the child,” Nobles explained. “The doors are also monitored. If the child isn't found in 10 minutes, the police are notified."

Noble says parents get distracted during the holidays or get lulled into a false sense of security. That’s why Wal-Mart wants to help keep an eye on their kids, just in case.
Wal-Mart stores gave the tips sheet to children at several Green Country schools earlier this year. They also give the sheets to police officers to use when they speak to children’s groups.