The internet has drastically changed the way we interact with the world. No longer can we “keep an eye” on kids, even in our own homes. Because most children spend hours online every day, we must learn about their internet and device activity and figure out how it works.
The Cyberpeace Program is an internet safety and anti-cyberbully effort led by District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. DA staff visit schools and programs in the Suffolk County area to discuss these important topics affecting our families. There are several versions of this training and they are based on audience type. Below is a short summary of each version of our training.
“Cyberpeace for Students”
Websites, videogames, smartphones and more. Kids are often plugged in and need to know the best ways to stay safe and recognize potential risks. This program will teach kids, ages eight and up, about online and electronic safety.
Our student program focuses on several things. First, why keeping personal information private is so important. Many students have grown up without the concept of privacy. We must show them what can happen when you overshare online. We discuss the consequences as they relate to strangers, online acquaintances, and peers alike. We review real life cases so that students may learn from other youths who have had experience in the criminal justice system, either as victim or offender. The program aims to teach students:
? How to safely use smartphones, games and gadgets ? How to use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more) wisely and protect their personal information ? What not to send or share and why, from comments to photos and videos ? How cyberbullying happens ? What to do when online problems arise
“Cyberpeace for Parents”
You are the parent of three kids. It is a weeknight. You are cooking dinner for your family. Your spouse or significant other is paying bills with the family laptop in the living room. One of your daughters is babysitting and has the kids at a park, your son is at soccer practice, and your youngest child is in the living room watching TV with her iphone on her lap.
Which one do you think is the least safe? Which one do you think has the greatest chance of meeting an adult with questionable motives? Which one may be giving away personal information that puts him/her at risk?
Unbelievably, the one who is connected online, has the greatest risk of getting into a potentially dangerous situation. Even when physically close to you, kids may be connecting with strangers who are on their way to becoming “friends.”
Most adults and kids use Facebook and Twitter very differently. Kids use the apps and talk in code. Kids embed videos and photos within their chats. Kids access these sites on their phones and are on them much of the day. If you understand the most common uses and risks, you can help keep your kids from making mistakes which lead to problems. You can talk to them without sounding out of touch. It may seem a little overwhelming but it is worth the effort. Once you have mastered the ins and outs tween/ teen technology, you will be on your way to meaningful conversations and greater safety for the kids in your life.
“Cyberpeace for Professionals”
This program is similar to the parent training but is geared toward professionals who work with young people and their families.
Do you know what oovoo is? Have you heard about the stories with Omegle? What do LMS, TBH and HMU mean? Go on a teen’s facebook page and you will probably see many posts with these codes. If we cannot speak their language, how can we effectively speak to them about the risks they are taking? And how can we help families protect and communicate with their kids? The first step is learning yourself what is out there, how to use it, and how kids use it. Both adult programs include examples of conversation starters to help spark meaningful conversations with youngsters.
If you are interested in hosting this program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.