With cell phones getting into the hands of younger and younger children, Colonial Elementary School (CES) brought in guest speaker Robert Hackenson to talk to the fourth and fifth graders about the dangers of the Internet and social media, including limiting screen time, being careful about reacting to texts without seeing someone's body language, cyberbullying and meeting strangers online.
"You don't know if the person's safe or not. It could be a bad thing," said Caden Wistreich, a fifth grade student at CES. "He showed a picture where there was a girl who was age 12, and the other person looked like he was 40-something, and he typed that he was 12, too."
"You need to be careful on the Internet," added fifth grader Nia Middleton. "He was giving us examples of why we should be safe and how not to tell people personal information even if they seem to relate to you."
To help support the messages, Mr. Hackenson uses magic and brain games to reinforce that things might not always be what they seem.
"My passion is making education fun," said Mr. Hackenson. "All the magic ties into what I'm talking about and helps to keep them engaged."
In addition to presenting to the children at CES, Mr. Hackenson also held an evening presentation for parents that covered many of the same topics and explained how educating children about technology is a joint effort.
"Technology is an amazing and powerful tool, and with great power comes great responsibility," said Mr. Hackenson. "It's like when you're teaching your child to drive a car. A car has a lot of power and risks. You might have formal driver's education training, but you need to make sure the parents are in the passenger seat teaching them what to do and not to do, as well."