Social Media Use - Yates County Youths Targeted

Social Media Use - Yates County Youths Targeted
Posted on 12/06/2018
Safety First Online - Beware what you share!

December 2018


Dear DCS Families,

We recently have been made aware of several students within Yates County that have been victimized by an online predator. This person(s) has created numerous social media accounts, friended the students and proceeded to obtain very personal and private images and information about these students. The predator is now using this information to “blackmail” the students to provide additional pictures and information with the threat of sharing what has already been provided on social media sites and other public entities. The State Police are involved and investigating all leads.

This letter is to inform you of what is currently transpiring in our own local area and also to remind parents of the importance of monitoring their children’s online activity and digital footprint.  We understand that it is very challenging to stay ahead of the constant changes in social media sites and technology. Our children, have become dependent on their smartphones and with this comes a great responsibility to make good choices, when posting and responding on social media sites, accepting friend requests from strangers and sharing personal/private information.  

Many students do not understand the fact that once you hit the send button, the information, pictures and posts, no longer belong just to them.   Relatives, friends, colleges, employers and strangers may have access to the pictures and information and can pass it along. This can help or harm a person's reputation.  Social media platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are very much like a personal journal, where students will post their daily activities, name, age, address, family members, hobbies, where they attend school, the sports teams they participate on, and even the number on their athletic uniform.  Complete strangers will have access to your child’s personal information and may try to engage your son or daughter in online conversation. When this happens, children put themselves at risk for criticism and for potential online predators looking to harm/hurt our children. It is important for our students and families to remember,  “if you see something, say something” if your child comes across concerning activity on social media.

Please know that if your child is posting false or embarrassing information on their accounts, other people can capture the posts and re-post the information  as well. Most social media sites will allow users to set their profiles to “private” for a select group of friends or family members. By not setting their accounts to “private only”, may put your child at risk.  


Please remember the following:

  • Posting inappropriate content could damage their reputation and/or the reputation of others

  • Posting humiliating comments on other users accounts/profiles can be deemed as offensive and lead to bullying or harassment

  • Posting pictures may open your child’s profile to strangers that do not have your child’s best interests at heart

  • Some posts and uploads may be illegal, such as threats of violence or asking for inappropriate pictures

As a district,  we will do our part to monitor the activity on our website and available social media during school hours and we will continue to educate our students about safe and appropriate online interactions.  We ask that you help and support by reinforcing the importance of responsible posting and responding to social media with your children, by monitoring their online interactions at home. We strongly encourage you and your child to report anything they may see that is concerning to them or to you.  

We ask that you talk with your child about the social media accounts they are using and the potential dangers associated with their use.  Ask if they have any “spam” or “fake” accounts that are intended for specific friends and not for parents, coaches or colleges to view. If your child is using legitimate accounts with or without your permission, it would be prudent to review their profiles to ensure that no personal or identifiable information is available to online predators.  We also encourage you to monitor and develop guidelines to ensure the safety of your child while using social media or the internet. Below you will find some websites to reinforce social media and internet safety:

https://www.netsmartz.org/NetSmartzKids

www.safekids.com

www.webwisekids.org

http://www.parenting.com/gallery/social-media-monitoring-kids

If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to report suspicious activity, please reach out to your child’s teachers, counselors, coaches,  any school administrator, our School Resource Officer or any of our local law enforcement agencies. It truly takes a Village, thank you!


In Education,

Kelly Houck

Superintendent

Dundee Central School

 
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