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Speaker Brings Awareness of Internet Safety Issues

Jake Grist, Reporter

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As the young girl hears a knock at her door, she gets a rush of fear. The cold cruelty of life begins to twist at her stomach, and the hot realization comes to bear that she should not answer the door in case the boy she met online turns out to be a child predator.

This is an example of the kinds of Internet safety warnings that Kristina Godfrey, of the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, issued to Kimmons students at an assembly in September.

Many American teenagers already know about Internet safety but choose not to heed the warnings. Some have paid for it with their reputations and others with their lives. In fact, it happened in the very state of Arkansas, right across the bridge into Van Buren, where 16-year-old Angela Allen’s body was found after she met in person the “boy” she had met online. The boy turned out to be Lloyd Jones, a 36-year-old convicted rapist.

Ms. Godfrey discussed critical topics like securing personal information to avoid being kidnapped and harmed by strangers.

“I learned to keep personal information to yourself, and don’t put your address and all that personal stuff out there,” Eriel Shebree, 9th, said.

Ms. Godfrey also talked about how people leave digital footprints.

“Whatever you send, stays there forever,” Jin Vonggiri, 9th, said.

The Pokeman Go app craze was also brought up.

“Always be with an adult for Pokeman Go because you never know what might happen if you go by yourself, and it’s dangerous to walk around and not know where you are,” Dynasty Andrews said.

Students paid close attention when Ms. Godfrey discussed the negative consequences of sexting and cyberbullying.

“It is good to think before you share a picture,” Iris Ponce, 9th, said. “And don’t be sexting.”

Jayden Dilworth agreed with Iris.

“Don’t sext!” Jayden said. “It’s nasty, against the law, and could get you sent to court.”

In her presentation, Ms. Godfrey hit the issue of cyberbullying very hard because it has forced several students to skip certain classes, flee school, or even commit suicide.

“Cyberbullying is when you’re bullying on electronics which can lead to suicide, and we should stop,” Natadra Shade said. “Also, we shouldn’t be sexting because if you send a message to a friend or an ex, it might be passed around leading to rumors, and people leaving your life or even committing suicide.”

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Speaker Brings Awareness of Internet Safety Issues