HALTOM CITY The man who played Officer Frank Poncherello has switched his focus from the miscreants he encountered over the six-year run of CHiPs to the predators who target children in thousands of Internet chat rooms.
“This is the real deal, the real world, and we need to make our children aware of the dangers of the Internet,” said Erik Estrada whose TV character Ponch isn’t unlike the sheriff he portrays in a film called Finding Faith.
The film is based on the true story of a teenage girl who was lured away and kidnapped by someone she encountered online. Estrada will be at Haltom City’s Birdville Baptist Church Saturday evening to introduce the film. The point of the film is to let children know about the dangers lurking on the World Wide Web.
“The point of the movie is to teach kids to avoid this situation,” said Tom Howe, the pastor of Birdville Baptist.
The movie should open kids’ and parents’ eyes to the trouble that online activity can bring, Howe said.
“Some people still are using the computer as a baby sitter, just like our parents used the TV when we were kids,” Howe said.
Estrada said that’s an invitation to disaster, quoting an FBI statement with which the movie opens — that there is “a 100 percent chance that a child using the Internet will be approached by a child predator.”
“This movie we made, a 5-year-old could sit through it and get the message about the Internet,” Estrada said.