Expert Talks Cyber Safety at CMS
Mr. John Kelly from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) spent the morning of January 30 talking with Chatham Middle School students about online safety. A former detective and school resource officer for the City of Saratoga Springs, Kelly was in Chatham to share his first-hand knowledge of the dangers that can await young people in the information age.
“You have to be careful with the stuff you are putting out there,” Kelly told students during one of his forty-minute grade level presentations. “Once you hit that ‘send’ button you lose all control of where it goes. Anybody can see it.”
With young people spending more and more time plugged into the web, the need to provide education about the dangers lurking in cyberspace has never been more important. With this in mind, the school invited Mr. Kelly to come and speak with its entire student population, consisting of children in grades five through eight. Each grade attended its own presentation, designed to arm students with ideas on how to avoid situations that can lead to danger, and who to talk to if they ever feel threatened online, over the phone, or in person.
Using age-appropriate, interactive presentations, Kelly talked about the types of material that should not be shared online. He explained how online predators can use even the most basic information to identify and stalk potential victims. Kelly reminded the students that people they meet on the web may not be who they say they are, and stressed never to arrange a meeting with someone from the internet.
Kelly’s presentation also touched on issues like cyber-bullying, sighting examples of how the use of texting, email or social media to harass or threaten others can lead to serious consequences, both for potential victims and for bullies.
“This is the prevention part of what the NCMEC does,” Kelly said about his visit to Chatham, “Hopefully we can prevent a family from going through the sort of thing we have been talking about here.”
Mr. Kelly’s visit to CMS was coordinated by the school’s guidance department and provided at no charge. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a private, nonprofit organization that provides information and resources to law enforcement, parents, children, schools and more. Visit NCMEC website...