By Teri Vance


Navigating the dangers lurking online can seem overwhelming, even impossible with the latest developments in technology.

That’s why Lt. Raymond Spencer, commander of vice and sex trafficking sections with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, created “The Dark Side of Social Media” presentation in 2011.

“Many years ago, we noticed a link between social media and sexual abuse,” Spencer said. “Children are becoming victims of sexual exploitation online.”

He will be giving the presentation 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Brewery Arts Center as part of the Sierra Nevada Forums in conjunction with Partnership Carson City.

Participants will learn how to recognize and prevent predators online who may be targeting them or their children.

“The police departments can’t do it all alone,” Spencer said. “Parents have to get educated on the dangers that are out there.”

He said part of the problem is the learning curve when it comes to technology. New apps are being created all the time to help children and youth hide their activity.

“In many households, the 14-year-old is the IT support,” Spencer said. “That’s a problem. Most parents are in the dark about what these applications can do.”

The forum is free, but donations are appreciated. A no-host bar and light snacks will be available. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

It is part of a regular series presented by Sierra Nevada Forums.

“We bring fact-based information about controversial issues of interest to the community,” said Marty McGarry, a member of the executive board. “We bring in respected speakers who are experts in the field.”

Spencer has spoken to thousands of people across the country about the dangers lurking in the digital world.

“I’ll outline resources for parents to keep their kids safe,” he said. “This will give them a place to start.”


WHAT: The Dark Side of Social Media

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Performance Hall of Brewery Arts Center, 511 W. King St.