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Internet safety


Fri, Dec 4th, 2009
Posted in Education

On November 23, Karina Berzins from the BCA Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, was at Fillmore Central to talk with students grades 3-12 about internet safety. She also presented to a small group of parents in the evening. The third and fourth grades were shown a cartoon narrated by Nettie and Webster about WYSIWYGs (What You See Isn't What You Get) or WizzyWigs - the bad guys on the internet! They learned about Oogle, Follow-You-Fiona, Numbut, Spamazoid and Hot-Head. They learned that they should always tell a trusted adult about anything that is confusing or scary, or before sharing any personal information online. Almost all kids who attended reported that they have played games where there is some social aspect to it, or ability to interact with people they don't know personally. A few examples are Club Penguin or Webkinz. For more information on these characters, you can check out www.netsmartz.org. It is a great website filled with video clips, games, and information for parents, teens, kids, teachers and law enforcement.

The 5th through 12th grade presentation was geared more towards privacy on social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace. Karina showed the students how easy it was to get a lot of information about someone from their profile and how it can impact their future. She also talked about cyberbullying and "sex"ting and the ramifications of both. The students were amazed at the information she shared and had terrific questions for Karina.

In the evening, Karina presented information for parents on keeping kids safe online. The most important thing to do is to talk to your child about what they are doing online. Keep the computer in a family friendly location, stress the importance of not sharing personal information, and even set ground rules about what kids can and cannot be doing online. There is monitoring software available for parents, and more information can be found on www.netsmartz411.org. This site will answer any questions you might have about safe and appropriate use of technology. If the answers aren't there, you can email them and they will get back to you.

It was a full and informative day at Fillmore Central! If you'd like more information, please don't hesitate to contact Danette Grimsrud or Vicki Eide at the school. And if you'd like to contact Karina Berzins directly with questions, you can contact her at: Karina Berzins, Training and Education Coordinator, MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Internet Crimes Against Children, 1430 Maryland Avenue East, St. Paul, MN 55106, phone: 651-793-1043.

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