A little over a week ago I visited the BOLD school in Bird Island as Officer Michelle Jensen was talking to the 4th, 5th and 6th graders about Internet safety. She asked the kids how many had a Facebook page and about half the kids raised their hands. She then asked the kids how many were 13 years old. The response was none. She then wanted all the kids with Facebook pages to line up because it is illegal to have a Facebook page unless you are 13 years old. The room was silent for a moment. Obviously we need to do more education our kids, parents and community about the internet.
Officer Jensen will be traveling to Savannah, Georgia in March to participate in the Internet Crimes Against Children Under Cover Investigations Task Force. She is one of only 36 officers from across the United States to be chosen for this training. This is quite an honor. Officer Michelle will return to the Olivia Police Department with additional knowledge and networking to assist our community as continue to learn about internet safety. I am sure we will be hearing more about it from her in coming months.
We have many more methods of communication with each other these days. Lots of kids have cell phones. Laptops, tablets, wireless are more common. It seems almost everyone is texting. But with each new form of communication comes responsibility to be aware of how to use it properly and safely. I love new technology and with family in distant places it is a wonderful way to stay connected. But, please remember, as Officer Michelle told the school children during her visit, digital information, either emails or pictures on Facebook can stay there forever. It can truly never go away, so be cautious about what you say and post.