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Middle School Students Get Online Safety Lessons From Google

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Students at Vale Middle School hold up colored signs to indicate if they believe a statement on online privacy is true or false

Internet safety has become the new "stranger danger" among middle school students. This week, Google gave a lesson to students at Vale Middle School on how to secure their information, and protect themselves from involuntarily going viral with an embarrassing images or videos. The company's Online Safety Roadshow is designed to teach kids the risks of weak passwords, giving out too much information, and sharing photos. Google spokeswoman Jamie Hill says the pre-teen and early teen years are the best ages to target students for online safety.

“This is that time when they might be receiving that first device, [such as] a cell phone,” Said Hill. “We definitely know that technology is playing a larger role in the classroom, and so we’re making sure that this is a time where they can start developing those best practices so we can really have a successful experience online going forward.”

Ericka Foerster, the principal of Vale Middle School, says at least once a year there is an Internet oriented incident where the administration has to intervene.

“Usually it takes us a good day to track down where it originally started and we usually can get it down at the level we’re aware of,” Foerester said. “But as the kids saw today it’s always out there so it’s not always possible to completely eliminate it. We deal with it on an ongoing basis.”

The road show has been to about 40 schools across the U.S. reaching 18,000 students. It’s available online at google.com/safetycenter .