Students learn the basics of Internet use

  • Thursday, November 21, 2013

Photos by Michael Quirk/Independent Above: Students hold up green- and red-sided signs in true or false games. At right: Jacob Mader and Julie Bordato speak to students.


The Good to Know Roadshow Presenters stopped by College Park Middle School last week to speak to the students about the “driver’s ed. of the internet.”

Approximately 750 students from all three grades attended the presentation in the school’s multipurpose room.

Presenters Jacob Mader and Julie Bordato of Ann Arbor, Mich. covered five key tips: think before you share, protect your stuff, know and use your settings, avoid scams, and be positive.

Mader and Bordato used the Internet sensation music video Gangnam Style by Psy to illustrate the endless possibilities of sharing online. The video has received over 1.8 billion views on YouTube, and with over 2.4 billion internet users, pictures and emails shared online can quickly go viral.

Many users do not set a strong enough password, including those that use “password.” Students were encouraged to include letters, numbers and symbols, mixing them interchangeably.

One in three teens have shared their password with a friend, something Mader and Bordato vehemently warned against. They also told students to have different passwords for every login and to log off every time they’re done on the website.

When it comes to knowing user settings, 50 percent of all Americans have not checked their settings much less understand them.

“Too many people don’t check and don’t know their settings,” said Mader. “Don’t let it happen to you.”

The main scam the students were made to be aware of was “phishing.” That is when scammers try to pry passwords from the user to get more information. Some will pull up familiar websites such as Gmail but have a wild URL, something users should always check before entering their information.

“If it sounds too good to be true like a free iPad or a trip to Jamaica, it probably is too good to be true,” Bordato said. “Never, ever respond to suspicious posts that ask for your password.”

In an era where Internet bullying is skyrocketing, the students were told to follow “The Golden Rule” when texting or posting online.

“Every time you post or text you have an opportunity to be encouraging and nice,” said Bordato. “If you can say something nice rather than mean, you will make the web a better place.”

The two closed with a common theme of the presentation, telling the students, “You are what you share.”

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