The World Wide Web and social media can be an exciting yet dangerous place. It’s filled with great information, great resources and great opportunities, but all of these great things come with an obligation to use them with caution, care and responsibility.
To this end, Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Family and Consumer Science Teacher Sybil Ruffles invited a representative from the New York State Police to talk to students in the school’s seventh grade about Internet safety.
Investigator Michael Eckler with the Computer Crime Unit spoke at length to students about the benefits and drawbacks of the Internet and encouraged the students to always make smart decisions when it comes to the World Wide Web.
The most important point he made was reminding students that their online life is always connected to their real life – items posted on social media sites are not always hidden from parents, law enforcement officials, future college prospects, and future employers.
Eckler talked about cyberbullying and asked the students to stop and think before they post or share something on a social media site.
He encouraged the students to never share another person’s personal information and asked the students to think about the following questions before they post something: Will this post get me in trouble? Will this post hurt someone? How could this post impact my future?
He armed students with great information on how to handle an online bully and encouraged the students to confide in an adult and report the bully.
Eckler also spoke about how students can safeguard themselves from online predators and how to report suspected crimes of sexual exploitation through the CyberTipline, www.cybertipline.com or 1-800-843-5678.