NJ officials visiting schools to warn students of online dangers
State officials will be visiting schools to make age-appropriate presentations to children about the dangers of being online.
The Cyber Savvy Youth initiative was launched by the state Division of Consumer Affairs following the arrests this year of at least 59 people in the state suspected of being child sex predators.
“More and more kids are using mobile devices and are on the internet, and just like we teach kids to be safe in the playground, we also need to educate them to protect themselves when they’re on their mobile devices,” Consumer Affairs Acting Director Paul Rodriguez said.
The materials used by the state can be downloaded. Three sets are aimed at students in elementary, middle and high schools. Presentations have already been made to a second grade class about cyber safety.
Rodriguez said in today’s world it’s never too early to teach kids about how to be safe online.
“Kids today, they’re growing up with these devices, they’re growing up very early playing on phones, playing on iPads, playing on computers, and it’s easy sometimes to forget that there’s real people on the other side of that," he said.
During the presentations, kids are taught about online do’s and don’ts, including warning about the dangers of putting too much personal information on the internet, which can be mined by identity thieves.
Rodriguez pointed out identify theft may not be discovered until years later when a kid grows up and applies for credit, and at that point fixing the problem is much more difficult.
He said children are also instructed to "talk to their parents, talk to their teachers if they’re getting unwanted contact."
He said parents must always know what their kids are doing online and make sure “they know they should talk to you before sharing any information with anybody online [or] if they’re being made to feel unsafe.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com