Springfield students, parents learn about online safety

SPRINGFIELD, NJ — On Thursday, Feb. 23, Detective Dawn Correia from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office visited Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield to educate students and parents about online safety. An assembly was held during the day for students and parents were invited to attend the presentation during the evening.

“We have a very good relationship with both the Springfield Police and Union County Prosecutors,” Assistant Principal Ron Slate told LocalSource over the phone on Feb. 23. “We decided to take advantage of the programs they offered to us to educate students and make them aware of online bullying. We want to stay ahead of the game before anything happens in our school. There were a few cases in Linden and Elizabeth. We want to show students from a legal standpoint that online actions are serious to the community. We want to send a message to our students to be positive and productive citizens when they’re online.”

According to a Feb. 23 press release from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, the presentation focused on the concept of the digital footprint left by users of social media, and how negative information can impact students. Inappropriate and irresponsible use of programs such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and others were discussed. The goal of the presentation was to provide parents with information and strategies to help them monitor and guide their child’s use of smartphones and social media.

“I was curious to know what they are reinforcing at the school,” Leslie Glass of Springfield told LocalSource in an interview prior to the presentation. “I want to partner with the school to reinforce it. I thought there would be a bigger turnout because it’s important information.”

The parents were sent an email to inform them about the presentation that evening.

“I received an email about the presentation and I came to see if there’s anything new for me to learn,” Lucia Girdano of Springfield told LocalSource in an interview before the presentation.

The presentation was given from a legal perspective. The laws regarding social media and the consequences of breaking the laws were outlined by the detective.
“The presentation focuses on cyberbullying and safety laws,” Correia told LocalSource in an interview before the presentation. “We think it’s important for the kids to know about that.”

The majority of students didn’t get a chance to discuss the presentation with their parents that evening, but the parents said they planned to discuss what they learned as soon as they had a chance.

“I didn’t get a chance to talk to my kid about it because we didn’t really have an opportunity to sit down together and talk yet,” Glass said.

The parents agreed that their children all spend a significant amount of their time online and that this was another reason they decided to attend the presentation.

“My kid does spend a lot of time online,” Glass said.