Parents and students in the Lincolnview school district are getting a chance this week to learn more about the hidden dangers of the internet.
Wednesday night, Rick Mann, nationally known expert in internet safety, presented a program to parents at Lincolnview High School.
He’s scheduled to speak with students on Thursday.
Mann’s own history as a parent and a teacher, and later as legal counsel to school administrators, has made him passionate about the safety of students in changing times.
“I’ve heard his presentation before. He’s passionate about telling kids about what the dangers are. It’s one of those things that, as a district, we want to be proactive about and at least be able to inform kids about what some of the outcomes might be,” said Brad Mendenhall, principal of Lincolnview Jr. and Sr. High School.
His presentations to nearly 90,000 students emphasize helping students avoid becoming perpetrators or victims of exploitation.
“Think before you click because every single thing you do in the cyber world is two things that always, always you have to keep in mind. No. 1, forget the concept of privacy. The only safe way to approach it is assume there is no privacy. No. 2, what you do today never, ever, ever, ever goes away. It’s permanent,” Mann said.
His presentations to more than 2,000 teachers and parents emphasize what they need to know about preteen and teen actions in the cyber world, the dangers created, and what they can and should do to safeguard their children.
“Parents are absolutely totally naive about what is actually occurring with their kids. Kids get together and think it’s a smart idea to have a secret drop box system and collect all of the sexting pictures from their classmates. Well now you not only have possession of child pornography, production of child pornography, pandering of child pornography, you are collecting child pornography,” Mann said.
Mann stresses that the first line of defense is knowledge, and the end game for every student and parent is, “Think Before You Click.”
“Part of his gig is wanting to talk to parents. Students, they are the technology natives and we are the technology immigrants as adults. They grow up in it and they learn it and they know it. We’re the ones that are constantly trying to learn and adapt to the natives. This, I think is just a nice way that we can provide something for our parents, maybe a learning opportunity for them to know what’s out there, to know what to look for,” Mendenhall said.