Keeping Young Students Safe on the Internet

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Students at Bayville Intermediate School are learning early how to use technology safely. A cyber safety presentation on Nov. 5, highlighted the positive ways in which social media can be used and the negative behaviors that need to be avoided.

Katie Schumacher, founder of the Don’t Press Send Campaign, shared age-appropriate examples of how social media can hurt feelings and change lives. She pointed out that using social media to make plans with friends or to perform research would be positive ways to use these tools. She presented third- through fifth-graders with scenarios that should be avoided at all times, and when she said them, she had the entire room shout, “Don’t press send!”

“The students who interact with this technology get younger and younger all the time,” said Principal Scott McElhiney. “We want to make sure we are proactive and teach them about the dangers of social media before they encounter situations that could be harmful to them.”

Schumacher reminded students to use empathy and think about how they would feel being on the receiving end of a comment before they choose to hit send. She added important rules about not taking photos without clothing, not sharing their passwords and keeping their social media circles small. “There are not 500 people whom you can trust,” she said. “So you should not have 500 friends on Facebook.”

Other tips included not having cell phones on during homework time, choosing an early evening time to turn the phone off for the night, and not posting photos of outings with friends. “You might be having fun with your ‘bestie,’ but your other ‘bestie’ might see that photo and feel left out,” she said. She suggested that children and adults take photos to remember their special moments, but that they only share them with those who are in those photos. She also advised them to never post photos of anyone without their permission.

News12 covered this important presentation and will air a story on the topic today after 6 p.m.