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Cyber safety tips for families

Over the last few days, there have been a number of online threats made against several schools, throughout the metropolitan Phoenix, the state, and nation. Yesterday, three juveniles were arrested for these incidents that occurred in the Phoenix area. We want to take this opportunity to remind our parents ways you can help ensure your children remain safe while exploring the Internet. 

Student and staff safety is our top priority, and we take all online, verbal, and written threats seriously. The online threats were general in nature and are under investigation by the Phoenix and Glendale police departments. Glendale Police have assured us that these are not credible threats. If you or your students become aware of online threats, or have information on who is posting these threats, you are urged to call the police at 623-930-3000.

Below are some tips to reinforce Internet safety and help you establish guidelines for use with digital devices:

  • If you or your child see a potential threat against any school, report it immediately to an adult, school official, or the police. You can simply call 623-930-3000.
  • Ask your child what accounts, including usernames and passwords, they have on the Internet to help you monitor his/her activity.
  • Most social networking websites require that young people be at least 13-years old, and sometimes even 18, to create an account. Do not let younger children pretend to be older to use these websites.
  • NEVER accept friend requests from someone you do not know.
  • Teach your child to be mindful about what they post on the web. It is far more public than it seems.
  • Explain that online information and images can live forever. Anyone in the world can access what he/she posts online.
  • Use privacy settings and do not randomly accept everyone’s request as a friend.
  • Tell your child to never give out their address, telephone number, passwords, school name, social security number, or other personal information.
  • Explain that children should never agree to meet face-to-face with someone they have met online.
  • Children should never respond to messages that have bad words, are scary, or just seem odd.
  • Children should never send a picture of themselves to anyone without your permission.
  • Share with your child the potential consequences of posting inappropriate photos. The negative outcomes may have emotional and legal ramifications. There is no control over what happens to photos once they are online.

We see many benefits from the rich educational resources of the Internet and other technologies, and appreciate you partnering with us to keep those experiences safe and positive. In addition, we encourage you to talk regularly with your child about their online activity and help them establish safe and ethical practices.

Jim Cummings, APR