SAN YSIDRO – The San Ysidro School District partnered with the San Diego Police Department this fall to educate students and parents about internet safety. The collaboration comes after law enforcement reported an uptick in cyber-issues last year, including explicit images and content sent via cellphone or other electronic media.
The SDPD presented its cyber safety tips to seventh- and eighth-grade students at San Ysidro Middle School and Vista Del Mar Middle School, as well as the San Ysidro School District community in September and October.
“Kids think they are anonymous; they don’t understand that what is posted on the internet is permanent, and Google has a great memory,” San Diego Police Officer Aida Liufau said. “Don’t wait for an incident to happen before talking to your kids about the consequences.”
Parent Andrea Vazquez said she came to the parent cyber safety workshop to increase her awareness for how her kids might be using the internet.
“My kids know more than I do and I don’t want to be out of the loop,” Vazquez said. “Online safety is very important to our family. Access to cellphones and iPads is a privilege in our home.”
Online postings can affect a child’s future because college admissions officers, potential employers, the military and landlords often review an individual’s online presence.
“Parents need to be prepared to review safe cyber practices with their kids before they go to high school,” San Ysidro Middle School Principal Roberto Carrillo said. “Our goal is to start a discussion on internet safety between our students and their families. If you have questions, please ask us. We’re here for you.”
- To start a safe cyber conversation, Liufau offered these recommendations for parents:
- Talk with your children about types of information they should not share online.
- Install parental controls on all devices a child uses.
- Ensure children use strict privacy settings for all social media sites.
- Confirm children use non-identifiable gender-neutral usernames.
- Install a free or paid app that monitors your child’s online activity, such as OurPact.
- Require children give their phones to a parent each night before going to bed.