If you've wondered how to broach the topic of internet safety with your children without getting an eyeroll, a free film at Victorious Life Church Thursday evening might be just the opportunity.
The screening of "Finding Faith" will be held at Victorious Life Church, 1615 Old McDonough Highway SE, Conyers, starting at 6:30 p.m.
The movie, which stars Erik Estrada of 70's "ChiPs" television series fame, follows the story of 14-year-old Faith, who is abducted by an online predator, and her family's battle to find and rescue her.
If the plot sounds eerily like it's been ripped from the headlines, keep in mind the movie is based on true cases handled by Bedford County Va. Sheriff Mike Brown.
Estrada not only stars in the movie as Sheriff Brown but also serves as the celebrity spokesperson for Brown's Safe Surfin' Foundation, which seeks to educate and prevent children from becoming victims of internet predators. This year alone, Estrada is attending film screenings in more than 120 communities across the country.
This is more than labor of love for Estrada.
As a deputy sheriff in Bedford County, Va., Estrada has worked on cases of internet crimes against children and has seen what can happen.
"Eventually, every child online will be approached by online predators. There are too many children posting pictures, accepting so called friends. Next thing you know (the predators) come and take them. They put them on film, steal their innocence," said Estrada. Victims can find themselves trafficked overseas or abandoned, he said.
With children living more of their social lives online than before, parents often struggle to keep up with their children's technology uses and still keep their kids aware of the risks.
"Most parents are concerned but aren't savvy about how the internet works and aren't aware of what their kids are doing on the internet," said Estrada.
Victorious Life Church Outreach Director Jose Quinones said he was looking for an activity for the community when he came across the film and the offer from the producers to hold a screening.
"It's a timely subject and it's a topic that's sometimes hard to talk about but we need to talk about it," said Quinones.
Several cases this year of missing teens in Conyers involved the students running off to meet people they had met online.
The Safe Surfing Foundation offers free internet safety curriculum to teach at schools and to teach the teachers. Parents need to talk to their kids and look at their computers, Estrada urged. "Look at their computers, look at the conversations. Start a communication with the child," he said. Coming to the film screening is also a good way to kick start discussion between parents and children.
Estrada started his career in faith-based films with "The Cross and the Switchblade." After the tour for "Finding Faith," he will be starring in another faith-based film by JC Films shot near Liberty University called "Uncommon," which looks at religious liberty in public classrooms.
For more information on the film, go to www.FindingFaithFilm.com. For more on Victorious Life Church or the screening, go to www.vlcog.com or call 830-377-7727.