Internet Safety Month Highlights a Serious Concern

Angela Remmert by Angela Remmert | 06.25.2012

In the wrong hands, texting can have devastating consequences.

As a parent of a middle schooler, I realize a lot has changed since I walked the halls of “junior high”. Sure the questionable ’80s fashions of leggings and high tops have returned, but the kids wearing them are faced with many more challenges.

With everything from the Kindle Fire to the coveted iPhone, today’s school buses are filled with electronic devices. True this technology makes students’ academic lives easier. No one has to spend hours on a microfiche machine to research the agriculture of Mesopotamia. But they do have to learn a more crucial lesson-how to protect themselves from Internet dangers.

June Is National Internet Safety Month. Did you know that 93% of children ages 12 to 17 are online? And about one-third of these teens have been cyberbullied? As life safety professionals, you can positively impact your communities by educating your neighbors about these issues.

In 2008, I wrote and co-produced a series of videos with Lauren Nelson, Miss America 2007, whose nationwide platform was Internet safety. Below is one that addresses cyberbullying. Since its release, dealers have used the video on their sales calls, YouTube channels, and web sites.

If YouTube is blocked, you can view the video here.

World Wide Security Is Keeping Kids Safe
One dealer who has created a program around these Miss America videos is World Wide Security/GC Alarm. Since 1979, Joe Ingegno, vice president of World Wide Security/GC Alarm, has been a strong believer in community service, visiting local area schools with a variety of educational tools. For the past three years, they have been holding Internet safety events in local middle schools. They distribute Internet safety DVDs and their consultants also provide the information on sales calls. The response to the Internet safety program has been extremely positive. The company receives phone calls on a regular basis from parents who want information for their children’s classroom projects, which the company is always eager to supply.

So What Can You Do?
In addition to using the video above, there are many resources available to help you promote Internet safety. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®, a Honeywell partner, has created an excellent resource called the NetSmartz Workshop. It’s an interactive program that provides tools to help teach children how to be safer on- and offline. Designed for children ages 5-17, it has videos, games, activity cards, and presentations that you can use to educate the families in your neighborhoods.

Do you have an Internet safety program in place? Let us know what you’re doing to protect those who often can’t protect themselves.