Clovis students get lesson in staying safe online

CLOVIS, Calif.

A showing of hands showed roughly half of the sixth graders at Cedarwood Elementary keep connected through Facebook, but even the students who aren't logged on know what the dangers can be. "You talk to people you don't know. You don't know how old they are, or if they could be lying," said sixth grader Serena Myers.

"Other kids are allowed to post on your page. And when they post things, it can hurt you. And everybody sees it and it won't go away," said sixth grader Lauren Stalker.

"We are concerned for kids because a lot of the times, they don't realize the implications of some of the things they're posting," said Detective Julie Williams. As an example, Detectives shared an experience that was just reported last week when older men manipulated a 12-year-old Fresno County girl to send them photos of herself. She also unknowingly sent out her personal information, making her even more vulnerable.

The message was enough to convince parent Dianne Vanaman to delete her child's Facebook profile - even though it was only used for games. "Kids at this age, they don't make good decisions sometimes. So I just want to make sure I'm on top of it. I don't want to be this parent that says, "I didn't have any idea!" said Vanaman.

Detective Williams doesn't outright discourage Facebook and social media but said parents need to know their children's passwords in order to check in on their activity. In the days of texting, Tweeting, and Facebook, it's also important to remind children to never reveal too much information.

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