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Attorney General & Google talk online safety with sixth graders


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -  Wisconsin’s Attorney General and one of the most widely used computer online resource developers brought a lesson in online safety to Wausau sixth graders Thursday.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen joined Google’s “Good to Know Roadshow” at Horace Mann Middle School.

Jamie Hill from Google says they developed the online safety guidelines, but wanted to make sure they reached this age group in a fun way they would remember. “We care alot about child safety, and about people being smart and safe online, so we wanted to take some of our tips and tricks that we already had online with our Good to Know Resource Center and help make sure that it was accessible to a middle school and a teenaged audience. We helped develop this road show taking all of the material that’s online at http://www.google.com/goodtoknow/ and help make sure that a middle school audience really understands it.”

Van Hollen says it’s important for parents to be involved in their children’s online safety, but says the kids using the devices are really the front line and need to learn the right things to do. “They’re the ones actually using the devices, putting themselves at risk, and are the ones who have the best ability to protect themselves because most of these kids, frankly, know more about how to protect themselves or use technology than we as adults do.”

Hill says the Good to Know program is a lesson in how to be a good “digital citizen” based on five key points. They are, Think before you share, Protect your stuff, Know and use your settings, Avoid scams, and Be positive by only commenting or forwarding positive things.

Hill says the entire program the students saw at Horace Mann Middle School is available online, along with other family resources for Internet security. “Definitely check out google.com/goodtoknow. We have an entire family resource and online safety center where you can figure out some tools and tips to help your family be really smart and safe online. All of the information the students received today is actually also online, so if teachers want to have a refresher with their students, it’s all there as well.”

Van Hollen encourages the kids to take this lesson home to mom and dad. “It’s very important for parents to know as well, so they can watch over their kids, so they can watch over their passwords, so they can check on their settings to make sure they’re doing things to help protect them. It’s one of the reasons why I encourage these kids to go home and share with their parents. Their parents play a very important role but the kids play the most important role in protecting themselves and their friends.”

The Attorney General’s office has a great deal of resources dedicated to helping keep children and adults safe from online threats and illegal activity. He says of the five Google guidelines, having strong passwords is most important. “You want to make things that are really easy to enter and really easy to remember. The problem is, those are really easy to enter and remember for the bad guys as well, so password protection and making sure that you have enough digits, making sure that you have characters and numbers and letters is tremendously important. If they come away with one thing that they do differently, that’s the most important I think.”

The Google Good to Know Roadshow is just kicking off their fall tour, and will be going coast to coast in the upcoming months.