The other topics for the parent meeting hosted by the Emery School District were internet safety and bullying. Nathan Wilson from the Southeastern Utah Service Center talked about the resources available to help parents keep their children safe while using the internet.
The school's filter and block content on the internet, but are home computers safe? What is an appropriate age that children can use Facebook. Wilson said there are many unknowns when it comes to the internet. People can lie about their ages and their online profile can be older than they really are. Many dangers exist for young children online. They may see content that isn't appropriate for their age.
Children should only use the computer when they have supervision. They should be instructed never to give out their personal information over the internet. Computers in the home should always be in a common room where content can be monitored.
Parents need to know what's on their kids computers. Parents need to check cell phones to make sure they are being used properly and there isn't harmful content on them.
Technology can be a great thing, but it must be used wisely. There must be rules in homes for internet use. No social website is safe for children. It's a good way to communicate, but there are dangers. Parents should know all of their childrens passwords. You are not their friend, you are a parent. Be suspicious. Check up on them and their online activities. It is possible to check where your children are texting and what they are texting.
Be aware of any pictures posted on Facebook that can give clues to a child's location and home. An address, a license plate, all can lead to the child.
Make sure children know it is not safe to meet anyone they met online. Be someone your children can trust. Keep the lines of communication open with your children.
Make sure online profiles don't include personal information. Photos can circulate forever. Make sure children know they shouldn't take inappropriate pictures of themselves or have inappropriate pictures on their phones. This can lead to criminal charges in cases of sexting, a crime is being committed.
Suicide rates are increasing because of sexting and bullying incidents. Children should only post parent approved photos on line. If you believe exploitation of children has taken place then report it to law enforcement.
If you are not familiar with the internet then you need to educate yourself. Talk to your children about the websites they visit.
You can get help and information about internet safety at www.netsmartz411.org
Bullying was addressed at the parent meeting.
Emery School District has a bullying and hazing policy. Bullying is defined as intentionally or knowingly committing an act that endangers the physical health or safety of a school employee or student.
Emery School District's policy is in compliance with the state board of education rule and Utah code.
Superintendant Kirk Sitterud said that bullying is bullying no matter where it takes place. Bullying can take place with electronic devices and over the internet. It can be a text message, image, audio or video. Anything that is intended to cause harm or distress.
Emery School District works hard to ensure students are safe at school. But, bullying does take place. Students need to be educated to report bullying. Let someone know if you or someone you know is being bullied.
Superintendant Sitterud said the worst part about cyberbullying is that it's faceless. If cyberbullying occurs, make sure you save the evidence.
Junior High age students have a greater problem with bullying than high school age. High school bullying tends to be more serious. Students who are bullied are in more danger of becoming suicidal. Students who are bullied will often turn to drugs.
Students are encouraged to report to the Buddy Box any incidents of drugs, violence, weapons at school and problems with bullying. The Buddy Box has been used for the past four years with much success. Hardly a day goes by without something being reported. There is also an electronic tipline where incidents are responded to, some of them are serious and some are not, but all are responded to.
The website is out of Spanish Fork. Students can text or email threats to this website.
They can report anonymously. SafeToTalk is a national school tip line. The web address is safetotalk.org. Many students are scared to or won't approach an adult. But, they feel comfortable reporting on line. The Emery schools are registered with this website. For schools registered in the system, the tip will be texted to your school administrators and counselors. If the school is not in the system, the website will immediately contact the school with the tip. Types of tips include: weapon possession, rape, fights, bullying, and potential suicides. Anything can be reported. Because of SafeToTalk, lives have been saved and schools have become a safer place.
Emery schools have received tips on a variety of topics and all have been responded to.
The website really works and is helpful in combatting bullying and other related problems.
As part of the Emery district bullying policy any incidents will be reported to parents and appropriate action taken. If the incident is criminal it will be referred to the Emery County Sheriff's Office.
Emery District employees regularly participate in bullying prevention training. Students are also trained in preventing, reporting and recognizing bullying.