Albemarle County sheriffs reminded students to not use their full name online or post where they live and never give out a phone number.
Internet safety was the hot topic Monday at Sutherland Middle School in Albemarle County. The sheriff's office held a special assembly to give students the tools to navigate the web to make sure they're not tricked by any scams.
Having access to a computer is easy and there's something on the Internet for just about everyone, including social networking sites. Students learned first hand that small things like posting pictures and revealing where you go to school is too much information to post.
Albemarle County Sergeant T.D. Layman said, "Everyone for years has thought the only problem with the Internet is catching a virus on your computer. However, there are actual predators out their seeking our children."
Albemarle County sheriffs reminded students to not use their full name online or post where they live and never give out a phone number. Layman said, "We're here to help protect our children, to help them possibly recognize and do some prevention techniques, to help them avoid becoming a victim."
Seventh grader Nolan Minor thought he knew how to keep his information secure, but found out there are a few other things he can do. He said, "I didn't really even know like just the background from your pictures, people can look at that and tell where you live."
Sutherland Middle School Assistant Principal Tracey Jones Saxon said, "Without knowledge, kids don't know. They make some assumptions that may or may not be true."
To stress just how serious and easy it is to be a target the sheriff's office showed powerful, real life videos of teens who became victims. It left a lasting impression on Minor. He said, "It can happen to anybody."
Sutherland Middle School says assemblies like this one are important for students and teachers. As technology changes, parents and teachers need to understand how to use it responsibly.