A special agent with the FBI Cyber Crime unit paid a visit to the district over three days in February and March to speak with ninth-graders about the dangers of the Internet and how to make positive decisions when using technology.
FBI Special Agent Danielle Messineo led students at all three high schools through a PowerPoint presentation that covered everything from cyberbullying to Internet predators to inappropriate texting.
Messineo reminded students that if they are on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, they should keep their accounts set to private, only accept requests from people they know, and avoid profile pictures that might give predators a clue about where they live or what school they attend.
When presenting on cyberbullying, Messineo showed a sobering video recorded by Amanda Todd, a 14-year-old girl who committed suicide days after recording the video, in which she begged for help from anyone who might be watching. The video reminded students to think about potentially tragic consequences before engaging in ridiculing their peers, especially online.
The presentation also emphasized that students should refrain from sending inappropriate photographs and text messages, even to those whom they trust, because of the viral capabilities of modern technology. A clever video showed just how quickly a young girl’s racy photograph sent to her boyfriend could spread through the entire school and eventually back to her own family members.
The Internet safety and cyberbullying assembly was organized by the district’s Community Parent Center, led by director Wendy Tepfer. Messineo visited Kennedy High School on Feb. 25. She visited Calhoun the next day and finished out her visits at Mepham on March 3.