PAMELA SCOTT JOHNSON Staff Writer
October 3, 2012
Julia Roberts Goad
LENORE - Students at Lenore K-8 learned about the importance of keeping personal things private when U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin spoke to them about cyber safety.
“The internet can be fun,” Goodwin told the students. “There are a lot of good things you can do online. It can be a great place for education or fun. You can check the weather, or do research for a school paper.”
But, Booth told the students, the anonymity of the internet can hide not only a person’s identity, but also their intentions.
“When you are talking to someone, you don’t know who they really are. They could be who they say they are, or they could be someone very creepy,” he said.
Goodwin said that in his career as a prosecutor, he has seen cases of people posing as a young person and befriending someone, and hurting them.
Goodwin also stressed that, once a picture or anything else is posted online, it stays there.
“If you are on a social networking site like Facebook, set your page to private,” Goodwin said. “Never give any personal information like your address or phone number, use screen names that are appropriate. And never, ever agree to meet someone you met online. If someone wants to do that, you need to tell a trusted adult.”
Goodwin also addressed online bullying.
“To bully someone is to hurt them, to be cruel to them, over and over,” he said. “It is to say or do something that is meant to hurt someone. And if you do it online, everyone can see it, even someone across the country, and it stays there forever.”
He related the story of a student in Ohio who had posted on Facebook that he was going to bring a gun to school and threatened to hurt people, and that four people had “liked” the post.
Goodwin stressed the importance of listening to their instincts.
“If a person is talking online, and you get a bad feeling, pay attention to that,” he said. “Tell a trusted adult.