Today, we worked to try and help kids understand the dangers of our digital world.
Christa Dubill (@christadubill) from 41 Action News came to speak to students. She developed the program #KCSafeOnline. She explains real news stories she’s covered about teens putting themselves in danger simply by how they use their phones and social media. As part of her program, she brought a local FBI agent. The two talked about real life cases of criminals seeking out young people online right here in our community. They talked about the importance of private accounts. About how allowing people you don’t know to follow or friend you exposes not only you, but your friends. They talked about how much information can be available simply from a picture.
Did you know many of your kids’ phones come default with location information saved in any picture they take? And that someone can find your child’s location – right down to the room where they took it – from that picture? Christa along with a member of the news station’s web team demonstrated this for the students, and then showed them how to be careful about what they post. And how to turn location services off for their pictures so location information isn’t saved in a photo they take.
Bullet points from Christa’s presentation:
- Make accounts private
- Don’t let people you don’t know follow and friend.
- The local FBI serves 200 warrants a year LOCALLY on people believed to be preying on young people online.
- One of the top issues for teens right now is sharing inappropriate pictures – whether of themselves of someone else. The FBI explained the laws about taking, sending or opening inappropriate pictures.
- Tell someone!!! If a student has been exposed, exploited, or is being threatened in any way, find someone to talk to. Don’t try and manage it alone.
With the knowledge learned today, it is hoped the students will feel empowered to make even smarter decisions on their mobile devices and computers.
Continuing the conversation at home; ask your children:
- What are your favorite apps?
- Are your accounts private?
- Do you know everyone who has friended or followed you?
- Has anything ever happened online that made you uncomfortable?
- Has anyone you don’t know ever tried to chat with you?
For more information, the station does have a website they’ve set up to keep digital safety news in one place:
There is also a tutorial online for how to set parental restrictions on an apple devices.