Google’s Online Safety Roadshow made a stop at Dickinson middle school on Friday to promote their program: How to be Internet Awesome.
“With teens right now they are growing up in a time where everything is being watched, everything is being recorded,” said Lynette Barskdale, Google representative.
Congressman Kelly Armstrong joined representatives from Google at the school to talk to kids about how to be safe and secure online.
“Getting to talk to middle schoolers about online safety is one of the biggest challenges we face with our young kids,” said Rep. Armstrong.
The congressman and the Google representatives held three separate 45-minute interactive sessions with students in the school cafeteria on Friday, and during the sessions, they talked to kids about five main points.
One was to make SMART choices when using the internet.
“Making sure that before they post or send a message to their friend that they think about would they be okay if their grandparents saw it. We call it the grandparent test,” said Jamie Hill, Google representative.”
Rep.Armstrong said, “The internet is forever. I think that is the single most important thing for people to remember”.
Another key point was to use STRONG passwords.
Representatives from Google suggested that kids use passwords that are at least eight characters long with a combination of uppercase and lower letters, numbers, and symbols.
They also urged students not to share them with other people.
“They might share passwords with a best friend, and that best friend today might not be there best friend tomorrow,” said Hill.
They also talked about being ALERT as to what sites they visit, and to be BRAVE and talk to their parents about any concerns they may have when they’re on the internet.
However, the most stressed point on Friday was for the students to be KIND when using the internet.
“Doing something you think is cute and you think is funny has ruined lives, and people need to understand that,” said Rep. Armstrong
The representatives from Google also added bad choices online can affect a student’s life off-line.
“College admissions, summer job, everyone is looking at your online presence. It is really important that you leave a positive footprint,” said Barskdale.
During the event many of the kids KX News talked to said they learned one or two things they were guilty of, and congressman Armstrong joking asked the newly enlightened students not to leak the ending of the new Avengers movie online.
Google said kids should also remember to log off their computers in a public space, and to talk to their parents before downloading an APP.