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Students, Police Partner to Raise Awareness of Internet Dangers

The program is a student-driven initiative aimed at students and parents, and targets social media and other internet safety practices.

by Drew Simon, Dayton Daily News / April 9, 2015

(TNS) -- Ohio's Kettering-Fairmont High School students and Kettering Police are partnering through a new campaign to spread the word about the dangers of social media.

“Our focus was informing, as opposed to encouraging people not to do this,” said Jared Parker, digital design instructor at Kettering-Fairmont and one of several faculty members at the district involved in the Social Kettering campaign. “We know it’s not going away.”

More than 20 students from up to five different student organizations have collected data and other statistics about cyber bullying, sexting and identity theft over the last year. Those figures are being used to create public service announcements, a website and other accessible information for a new campaign called Social Kettering.

The program is a student-driven initiative aimed at students and parents, and targets social media and other internet safety practices.

“When the students see this, we obviously want to make it very relatable to them,” said Adam McVay, a senior in the interactive media class at the high school. “I hope that when we do these (videos) that it may stop someone from making a hateful comment.”

A 2010 study from Pew Internet & American Life Project showed 95 percent of kids between 12-17 are online, and a 2007 study by the same organization said a third of online teens had been cyberbullied.

“I went through a little cyber bullying thing through middle school and I know that can kinda be a bad thing for kids who don’t think they have anyone to go to,” said Lane Ross, a senior who worked on writing some of the content for Social Kettering. “Certain people, they can just shake it off and it’s not effective to them, but some people; it crushes them.”

Kettering police said the program comes on the heels of several instances of sexting and cyber bullying over the last few years within the district.

“We’ve seen several instances of sexting cases that resulted in people being charged with crime,” said Officer Ron Roberts with the Kettering Police Department. “That digital footprint can go on for ever.”

Roberts also said it’s important that people do not give out a lot of personal information online, as it can cause problems in the weeks, months and years ahead if someone uses it to steal your identity.

Students this newspaper talked to said Social Kettering, given the growing presence of the internet and social media, could change lives.

“I hope that it spreads to other schools and other communities,” said Ross.

©2015 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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