The Belfast Beacon

Online Safety Assembly

Samantha Burgio

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On Friday, December 15, 2017, all grades were required to attend an Internet Safety Assembly in the auditorium hosted by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The grades were split up and went in at different times. The presenter, Renee DeLuke, discussed topics such as addiction, bullying, posting, consequences, and restrictions for being on social media. The presentation began with a series of shocking statistics on teenage technology and social media use.

There was one statistic that stood out. Social media is more prevalent than toothbrushes for most teenagers. This statistic demonstrates how important social media has become to our brains; we are so addicted that we prefer to be on it over our personal hygiene. 

The next topic was responsibilities for online posting. This generation is especially strict on reviewing social media accounts before accepting anyone. We need to remember that what we post stays online forever, where everyone can view it. The information may be forgotten, but it’ll always be in the system. Young adults need to be mindful that not only their friends view their social profiles, but also parents, job companies, teachers, colleges, coaches, and relatives. The slightest insult can result in a big catastrophe, especially if geared towards an adult or authority figure.

Then came a video on sexting. Online sexting will never be safe because of the millions of people who own social media accounts. I remember the Ms. DeLuke telling us to ask ourselves: Is there any possibility that I can get into trouble for doing this? Most of the time, one should not act upon the situation if asking this. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re being forced to send inappropriate pictures, tell someone. Never give in, because you’re only putting yourself at risk.

Bullying is also another major factor of social media. It’s unfortunate that teenagers feel a powerful sense of control over others when bullying online. Ms. DeLuke told us about an organized act of kindness one school in New Jersey started a few years back. A few students set up a special Facebook account for students to compliment others. Soon enough, word got out on how beneficial this is to self esteem and bullying, and other schools did the same.I thought this was a pretty neat idea that would allow everyone to come together in happiness.

Lastly, there was a component that had to do with public safety. There was an experiment conducted on young adults about whether not they would give in to a dangerous stranger. News reporters interviewed eight college students to see if they would get into their van to fill out some paperwork and hand over their phones. Four out of these eight students gave in. One also gave her security number for a social media app without hesitation. This shows that today’s generation needs to better prepare for our own public safety.  Thanks to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children for this important presentation. 

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