The Tamaqua Area School District and the Education and Outreach Department of the Office of Attorney General Tom Corbett provided an "Internet Safety for Parents" learning and discussion session to Tamaqua area teachers, parents, and board members recently in the Tamaqua School District Auditorium.
Many informative topics related to Internet Safety were discussed, to include how to control your children's access to the internet, the high amount of child predators out there, and dangers of cyber bullying.
Jolene Barron, Elementary Technology coach, and Janene Holter, Senior Supervisory Special Agent, Education and Outreach Program, with the Office of Attorney General Tom Corbett, both provided information pertaining to Internet Safety and Cyber Bullying. They both work with each other throughout the year to routinely provide classes to all the Tamaqua Middle and Senior High School students.
Two things stressed the most were pointed out that parents need to be the "boss", as well as giving their kids the tools and restrictions to keep them safe from child predators or cyber bullies. They are: "Never give out personal information to someone I meet online - like real name, address, telephone number or school."
"Never agree to get together with someone I meet on the internet." Tell a parent, teacher or trusted adult if I see anything online that makes me feel uncomfortable." "Don't send "flames" or bad remarks, as cyber bullying is very hurtful.", and "Don't post any photos of myself, friends or family without family permission."
A number of ways to protect your child online is to know all your child's passwords, place strict time limits on usage, install or activate child protection software, leave the computer in plain sight, look for unusual behavior when you approach them on the computer, make sure all their online friends are people they have met in person, and most importantly – realize you are their parent and can control and monitor what they do over the internet.
Cyber bullying is also a serious problem students are now forced to deal with. Cyber bullying can actually be worse than direct person to person bullying, because the "trail of hurt" remains online forever. The best thing to do is to ignore it. If it continues or is threatening, contact your local Police. They also pointed out that "With any type of bullying, There is the victim, the bully, and the bystander." The bystander is just as bad as the bully if they do nothing. Bystanders should tell an adult immediately if they see bullying. One of the largest informative resources provided to parents and kids is Attorney General Tom Corbett's website, www.attorneygeneral.gov, which contains many forms of references, advise, and learning tools for both parents and kids to interact with and learn from. One teacher stated during the discussion, "No matter what age, you wouldn't let your child roam the streets unsupervised, so why would you let them roam the internet unsupervised?"