STUDENTS LEARN CYBER-SAFETY (cont.)
When students asked Phillips, if an internet predator had ever been caught locally, he told them about a student at Barren County High School several years ago who was taken by an on-line predator, however, law enforcement was able to get the girl back safely, before the situation had a chance to turn into what could have been a tragedy. He did not discount the fact that this could happen again if the students aren't careful with what they engage in on the web.
Phillips also discussed cyber bullying - posting false and/or hurtful things and harassing others on the Internet - and the serious consequences it can cause. While it can just hurt people's feelings which is bad enough, he said, it can lead to other, more serious events. One student said he had heard that one case led the victim to commit suicide. Phillips said the best way to avoid a bad situation like that is to avoid cyber bullying all together, don't use the internet as a tool to harm others.
Phillips told the students that any inappropriate behavior on the Internet or people trying to contact them that they don't know should be reported first to parents or teachers, then to law enforcement.
Fourth grade may seem early for identity theft and internet safety talks to be made to students, but Phillips said this was really about educating them as they are beginning to use the Internet, because after fourth-grade, Internet use rises and habits have often already been formed with web usage.
"We're getting them really before they start using the Internet a lot, so that we can tell them what to look for and they can start out knowing how to go about the Internet safely," Phillips said.
Phillips thought the seminar had gone well and from comments he heard from students' Internet experience, they were lessons that needed to be learned.
Phillips wants to also make parents aware of warning signs associated with the internet and their children.
- Your child or teen receives phone calls from people you don't know or makes calls to numbers you don't recognize.
- Your child or teen is using someone else's online account.
- Your child or teen withdraws from family and friends or quickly turns the computer monitor off or changes the screen when you walk into the room.
*Susan Tebben Reporter for the Glasgow Daily Times contributed to this story.