Most Viewed Stories
Presentation educates students on Internet safety
While it may be common for children to learn to not talk to strangers in person, they might not be aware of the many dangers that are lurking on the Internet.
Viviana Jacques, an outreach coordinator from the Arizona Attorney General's Office, gave various presentation to K-12 students at Harvest Preparatory Academy on Thursday to share just how necessary it is to be safe and guard personal information while online. Jacques has been presenting to other schools in the county and across the state, along with other staff, as part of the Arizona attorney general's outreach program regarding Internet safety.
According to survey statistics on the Attorney General's Office website from 2009, 72 percent of teens have a social networking profile and nearly 47 percent have a public profile viewable by anyone. Additionally, 50 percent list their real age, 62 percent post photos of themselves, 41 percent list the city they live in, 45 percent list their school name or location, 16 percent post videos of friends, 14 percent post videos of themselves, 14 percent list their cell phone number and 9 percent list places that they typically go.
Another survey from 2006 reported that one in seven youths received unwanted sexual solicitation while online and 31 percent of those solicitations were aggressively seeking offline contact.
Jacques explained that because kids are growing up in such a digital age, Internet education is absolutely vital to ensure their safety.
“We need to make sure that they're careful because there are a lot of bad people who are using electronic devices to lure and talk to the kids and make it seem that they're someone their age, when really it's not.”
She shared that although some parents or guardians may not be knowledgeable about the Internet or social media, it is important for them to educate themselves and be aware of what their children are doing online.
“Unfortunately kids are using this technology and social media and putting their personal information out there, their address, and they're giving it out to strangers,” she said. “So we're doing this to not only protect them but their families. And for the older kids, if they're saying inappropriate things and posting inappropriate things on the Internet, when they're applying for a scholarship or a job down the line, even though it can be 5, 6 years from now, it can still affect them.”
Fritz Randolph, instructional mentor at Harvest Preparatory Academy, said that they have seen a positive impact of having these Internet safety presentations on their campus over the last few years.
“We've actually had students come to school officials like myself who have turned in people who are doing cyber-predation, so it's been an effective tool for us to use here at the school,” he said.
Randolph concluded that because online bullying or predation exists and it is happening, it's important to be proactive with students to make sure they know how to respond to situations when they're confronted with them.
“Even for the younger grade levels, they're going to be online and sometimes when their parents aren't around so it's always a good idea to make sure they're prepared,” he said.
To request a presentation at a school or for more information about Internet safety, visit www.azag.gov/children_family/netsafety.html or call the Attorney General's Office at 602-542-2123.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.