By Melissa Larimore
Kentucky New Era
Digital forensic agents from Fort Campbell shared the dangers of social media use on Monday afternoon with about 60 middle-school students in the sanctuary at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
Daniel Grove and Jerad Livingston, from the 502nd Military Police Battalion’s Criminal Investigation Command’s Digital Forensics, led the presentation.
With the popularity of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, among other social media applications, the two men were asked to speak to the Catholic school students about the dangers of the Internet.
The agents can track information from the Internet, computers and smartphones.
When asked who had smartphones and Instagram, nearly 90 percent of the students raised their hands, Livingston said. And many of those students take at least one “selfie” a day. Those self-portraits, once shared with others, are a permanent fixture on the Internet, he said.
The photos and information shared can lead predators to a page. Predators will keep talking and get more avenues of conversation. The less you share, the less they have to attack you, Livingston said.
“They’re not your friend.”
“Always know who you’re talking to … on the other end of that keyboard,” Grove added.
In addition to posts being permanent, the agents reminded the children that what is posted now may affect their chance at jobs and schools in the future. Many employers and school administrators check social media pages.
Inappropriate posts often include the use of drugs or alcohol, hate speech, lewd gestures, profanity, revealing images and threats and bullying.
School employee Vicki Kinnard chimed in about how serious cyberbullying can be. What is said online can often lead to terrible circumstances. She referred to students in Ohio committing suicide over items posted online about them.
“Think before you post,” Livingston said.
“Would your mom or grandma approve?” Grove added.
To avoid online drama and stay safe, Grove and Livingston suggested not responding to and saving inappropriate activity, getting different passwords for each account, using privacy settings on the apps, remembering friends or followers and limiting access to location. People can also make a report and call the Cyber Tipline at 1-800-THE-LOST.
The agents told the students to block anyone who sends something that makes them feel uncomfortable and to tell an adult about anything hateful or inappropriate they see on social media.
Don’t feed the predators, Livingston said.
The presentation, which was the first for Grove and Livingston, led to more discussions in each class.
The subject of social media dangers is “always good to know,” Grove said. “Knowing is half the battle.”