Organizers of the online safety workshop hope to present it to parents across the Island. (CBC)

Parents in Summerside filled a workshop Thursday night on how to keep their children safe from online bullies and predators.

The workshop was presented by the East Prince Women's Centre. Centre executive director Andy Lou Somers said cyber threats are a growing problem in Island schools.

"There's a lot happening, and parents aren't aware of how to do anything to help," said Somers.

"It has grown so rapidly. More parents are now becoming aware of numerous issues that are happening that the children have kind of kept from them."

Workshop facilitator Nancy Beth Guptill said the problems can start right in the school.

"Girls are setting up other girls just to publicly humiliate them," said Guptill.


Joanna Stewart was surprised at how quickly online predators responded to a picture of her daughter on Skype. (CBC)

"There's also lots of sexting taking place. Some of the guidance councillors in the high schools were actually saying that's a very big problem."

But the problems are not just coming from fellow students, or even just people living on Prince Edward Island. Parent Joanna Stewart had her own encounter with online predators.

"My husband set up a Skype account for me, and had a picture of my daughter on it, and she was in her bathing suit and he was just quickly setting that up, and I was starting to get these messages from men in Jamaica, asking me if I was available," said Stewart.

Guptill said the workshop is helping students and parents learn of the risks associated with technology. Organizers are hoping to continue with the sessions, at schools and with parents.