Kyrene del Milenio talks computer safety
Viviana Jacques talks to the students at Kyrene del Milenio on Wednesday about the how to be safe on the internet. The presentation was put on by the Arizona Office of the Attorney General. Submitted photo

As summer looms and parents are figuring out what activities to sign their children up for, one thing is certain - they will have a lot more free time on their hands.

This translates into more time to spend playing games, hanging out with friends and using the computer. Before his students leave for the summer, Kyrene del Milenio Elementary Principal Jim Verrill wanted to give them a refresher on the risks of using the Internet and the consequences of cyberbullying.

Verrill invited Viviana Jacques, community outreach and education specialist for the Office of the Attorney General, to come speak to the students about how to be safe on social networking website such as Facebook and Myspace.

"Parents wanted us to give a presentation and provide information about cyberbullying," Verrill said.

Jacques gave advice to the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about how to protect personal information like phone numbers, addresses and more, and how to use the security functions of Facebook.

"I tell them once you put it on the Internet, it's there probably forever," Jacques said. "We are just trying to get them to understand that there are inherent risks in putting personal information out there."

She gave the example that if in the future a student goes to apply for a scholarship for college and the scholarship committee decides to check that student's Facebook, he or she might see something that would influence their decision away from choosing that student.

"We want them to be aware that these things are possible and encourage them to be responsible," she said.

Jacques and the other staff members for the attorney general spend time at schools throughout the state giving presentations like the one on Wednesday.

"We get a big push right before summer starts because parents want their children to be refreshed on the consequences of cyberbullying," she said.

One parent said kids are using Facebook so early now that it is best to get a jump on providing them information to keep them safe.

"It's starting so young - what they post on Facebook and all the bad stuff that kids can see on there," said Susie Dunagan, parent and instructional assistant at Milenio. "Technology takes over and it's all peer pressure because it's all to be cool."

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