• CID provides social media training

  • CID implements a new Social Media Awareness Training program.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    The world is constantly changing and evolving, and technology and social media have become major parts of everyday life, particularly for children and teens. Therefore, in coordination with Unified School District 207 and Army Community Service, the Fort Leavenworth CID office has implemented a Social Media Awareness Training program for Fort Leavenworth children and families.
    “Technology has substantially grown in the past few years and will continue to pose a threat regarding privacy and social media awareness throughout the United States,” said Lawrence Reed, CID special agent. “(The training program) was developed to assist the Garrison commander and the USD 207 school district by providing children and families of Fort Leavenworth a way to combat these issues.
    “With the rise of video games and the ability to communicate with anyone throughout the world, this brings a large potential for predators,” he said. “With the majority of the audience being school-aged children, this was a great way to engage and develop an open forum to see how many children have actually been solicited during video game play.”
    The first briefings — one for parents and one for students — were conducted this past spring just before the schoolyear ended.
    Though certain websites and apps to avoid were not mentioned during the presentation, it did focus on correct usage and privacy regarding popular ones and some of the consequences if used incorrectly. One issue discussed was “sexting,” Reed said.
    “‘Sexting’ is a concern for junior high and high school children. There is an increase in the amount of investigations that involve underage children sending explicit photographs to one another that are in turn released into the public,” Reed said. “This causes great concern as now it becomes distribution of child pornography. The training provided real-life examples and videos of people who have sent explicit photographs that were released and how it affected their lives.
    “Internet safety practices were also addressed and reporting procedures were provided should they find themselves involved in sexting,” he said.
    Cyberbullying was another major topic discussed in the briefing, Reed said.
    “Cyberbullying has led to suicides or attempted suicides across the United States,” he said. “Cyberbullying is introduced within the presentation to include signs, ways to combat and bystander intervention.”
    Keith Mispagel, USD 207 superintendent of schools, said the parent presentation in April at the Frontier Conference Center was well received.
    “The parents were pleased there was a focus on cyber and app safety by the installation and the school district,” Mispagel said.
    Carole Hoffman, Child and Youth Service coordinator, said the response from the youth presentation in May at Harrold Youth Center was positive, too.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The youth were actively engaged and asked great questions,” Hoffman said. “We are hoping they learned not only how to keep themselves safe while using technology, but also the consequences of cyberbullying (and) posting inappropriate content, and who to reach out to for assistance.”
    Hoffman and Mispagel agreed that as the program continues, youth as early as fifth grade will be included in these presentations.
    “Youth do not always fully grasp the dangers and potential consequences of their actions while using technology,” Hoffman said. “The presentation really brought that out.”
    Additionally, while the consequences of the misuse of social media and technology is a key portion of the presentation, Mispagel said the benefits of using them correctly will also be part of upcoming presentations.
    “The benefits (of app and social media use) are many and include helping us communicate quickly, effectively and efficiently,” he said. “Additionally, youth should know that the use of cyber programs and apps can help us work smarter not harder in various aspects of our lives.”
    For more information about the Social Media Awareness Training program, call CID at 684-5695.
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