Advances in technology have changed the world in recent years, and while many people would argue those advances are for the better, there is still a double-edged sword when it comes to the way students use their technology.
Students today have the ability to interact with one another 24 hours a day, which wasn’t possible before the Internet. Cyberbullying and online predators have become more prevalent since the social media boom, prompting school and local elected officials to take action. On Dec. 18, Lynbrook Interim Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak, Town of Hempstead Senior Councilman Anthony Santino and Assemblyman Brian Curran hosted a town hall meeting at Lynbrook High School to educate the public about the ways to prevent cyberbullying and the proper way for students to use the Internet.
Nassau County Police Department Detective Peter Badalucco, a member of the Crimes Against Property Squad’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit, led the discussion and shared personal experiences in dealing with cyberbullying and online predators.
“We were all kids once, we all wanted to get away with something, but they’re on a different playing field,” Badalucco said of kids today. “I would never want to be this age again.”
Badalucco, who has been in law enforcement for 19 years and investigating crimes committed over the Internet for the last six years, gave the dozens of people in attendance advice on ways to monitor their childrens’ social media usage. As a parent of four children in grade school, Badalucco said he checks their Facebook pages regularly.
He shared several cases he’s worked on where older men posed as teenagers to attract children. Badalucco told those in attendance not share information with people they don’t know and never to send or post scandalous pictures of themselves.
Badalucco also advised the students in the audience not to share their passwords with friends because they could potentially use the password to post hurtful things. He told students and parents to think before they post something online; not everything requires the public’s attention.