Joey Melvin, Milford School District’s Resource Officer, has taken his job of teaching student’s internet safety one step further. Back in February, Officer Melvin held a seminar at the monthly Principals Chat aimed at educating parents and students about Milford School District’s Bullying Policy and the problems of Cyberbullying. This time, Officer Melvin took the message directly to the kids by hosting an assembly during the school day for students at the Milford Middle School that spoke about not only the harm of cyberbullying but also dangers from internet predators.
Internet safety expert Keith Dunn was brought in to teach the kids about being safe on their favorite social networks and avoiding dangers that come along with giving out too much information. Keith Dunn has been warning and training parents, teachers, law enforcement and other community organizations nationwide about online dangers since 1999. Keith was a Detective for the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office as an active member of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and has been proactively involved in the arrest and prosecution of internet predators.
“Mr. Dunn was fantastic. He was able to relate some very difficult and sensitive material to the student body in a friendly, and engaging way so that it kept the students attentive, and made them think about their behavior. His interactions with the student audience was entertaining to say the least. I look forward to his presentation again if he returns in the future,” commented Middle School Math teacher Lori Manning.
Mr. Dunn speaks with approximately 250,000 students, 50,000 parents and 100,000 trained police officers each year through the KDCOP program.
“I have spent years trying to figure out how to break down the barriers that kids put up when it comes to talking to adults about internet safety,” commented Mr. Dunn. “I have found that comedy helps to ease the students so they listen to what you have to say. That is when I bring in the education and critical information that need to know in order to stay safe online.”
Citing examples of real-life horror stories from his experience as a police officer, Mr. Dunn demonstrated to the kids that there are dangerous people out there who can be harmful. Above all, the children were taught to be careful about what personal information they are placing on the internet for everyone to see.
“Once a photo is placed on the internet it is there forever,” Dunn said to the audience of Middle School students. The video that followed this statement illustrated that idea by showing a picture of a young girl placed on a school bulletin board. Each time the picture was removed it reappeared on the board regardless of how many times the girl took down the photo. “No matter how many times you delete videos or photos they can be found be somebody, somehow,” stated Mr. Dunn.
School Resource Officer Joey Melvin understands that the great majority of the students he works with every day are continually on social networks even at the young ages of 6th and 7th grade. This increases their exposure to bullying as well as dangers from online predators.
“The more we educate our students about the issues of cyberbullying and internet safety I feel more incidents will be prevented,” stated Melvin “I speak to students about cyberbullying and Internet Safety daily but felt bringing in someone dynamic like Keith Dunn might make more of an impact. If we can educate the students and parents, when they just begin using the internet, the safer they will be.”
Officer Melvin and the Milford School District are committing to educating the community on internet safety. Officer Melvin offers tips for helping children from becoming a victim of cyberbullying and avoiding dangers online: Email addresses and Facebook accounts should be created and monitored by parents and internet access should be limited to one hour a day. On Facebook, parents should create a setting where they must approve friends and pictures that are allowed on their students’ site. Any personal information such as phone number or address should be left off the page and not shared with others sites. “Parents must get involved,” stated Office Melvin.
For more information on internet safety contact School Resource Officer Melvin at 302-430-7918 or JMelvin@msd.k12.de.us.