Gayle Allen recently spoke to students at Piedmont Academy about the dangers and benefits of the Internet and cell phones. She is pictured with school guidance counselor Ashley Cook, left.
MONTICELLO -- Middle and high school students at Piedmont Academy recently had the opportunity to hear Gayle Allen speak to them about the dangers and benefits of the internet as well as cellphones.
Allen has been trained by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on internet crimes against children and teaches classes on internet safety for adults.
Her first point was to guard their identification and think before they post.
According to statistics, one is more likely to be bullied online than become a victim of a predator. Students should never post their full name, birthday, telephone/cell number, address or occupation. They should avoid online surveys and phishing electronic mail.
Another scenario young adults need to be careful about is posting photographs online, she said. Often these photographs have pictures of friends and family, so not only could they put themselves in danger but their loved ones as well. She advised them to be careful when posting so that no identifying background is visible such as a billboard, business sign, car tags and uniforms.
With hyperlinks, surveys, and chain letters, oftentimes a computer virus or spyware is embedded in the email which can hijack the Web browser and cause damage to computers and files, she said. This is also true when companies offer free downloads such as games, ring tones, or screen savers. She advised students to never open an email that he does not recognize the sender or Web address.
For students with Facebook pages, she told them, it is very important to set the privacy setting on their profile pages so only their friends can view their pages.
She told them that a reliable website to visit to report internet crimes is familyinternet.info.
On the topic of cellphones, Allen discussed the dangers of posting inappropriate messages and sending photographs. She made aware to the audience if they were to send an inappropriate picture that the average person would consider offensive and inappropriate, that individual could be charged with a felony, serve five to 20 years in prison and be fined up to $100,000.