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Google team teaches Internet safety to Wichita students

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, at 3 p.m.

Photos

Think before you share.

Protect your stuff.

Know and use your privacy settings.

Avoid scams.

Not your traditional Valentine’s Day sentiments. But students at Robinson Middle School said the messages from Google’s “Good to Know Roadshow,” which stopped at the Wichita school Friday to teach Internet safety, were probably more valuable than candy hearts or chocolate.

“I learned that we need to keep a lot of our stuff personal, and don’t share stuff we don’t want shared,” said Casey Steward, a seventh-grader.

“Keep your passwords to yourself,” added classmate Adrianna Cogshell.

The 45-minute assembly for Robinson students was the Google program’s only stop in Wichita. The program is designed to teach students how to be safe online – creating safe passwords, identifying phishing scams, using privacy settings and realizing that anything they post online has the potential to go farther and be shared more widely than they may have intended.

“Let’s take this song, for example,” one presenter said, as a screen shot of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” flashed onto the screen. “I’m sure a lot of you guys know it.”

As the bouncy K-Pop tune played in the background, the students learned that the video – first posted to YouTube in July 2012 – went from one page view to 1 billion in about a year. As of Friday, the number of views was close to 2 billion, the most in YouTube history.

The students practiced setting strong passwords – don’t forget those numbers and symbols! – and heard stories about party invitations going citywide and private messages or photos going viral.

“These tips are really great for anyone of any age to learn,” said Google spokeswoman Jamie Hill. “But this generation is becoming increasingly more connected, so we’re hoping that this age is a great time to help them start developing those best practices.

“They’re using technology in classrooms. This may be the time they get their first cell phone or first device, so just making sure everyone knows how to set those strong passwords, how to be nice online, and how to find resources if they need those.”

Google representatives also urged the students to be positive online, challenging them to send an encouraging text or leave a positive comment at least once a day.

“They have the power to create an amazing online community,” Hill said.

For more information about protecting yourself or your family online, visit Google’s safety center at www.google.com/safetycenter.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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