MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Middle school students learned about the dangers of social media and how easy things can go wrong while in the cyber domain Feb. 2, 2018.
Lt. William Hough, Tallapoosa County Sheriff Dept., chief investigating/training officer, spoke to Maxwell’s middle school students about all the dangers that exist in the social media world.
He is part of a nationwide taskforce helping to catch predators pretending to meet young children by posing as someone their age.
Hough talked to students about how easy it is for young children to be tricked into becoming friends with someone on social media they don’t even know. For example, before coming to Maxwell he sent out requests on different social media platforms to student’s ages 10 through 13, and of those students who did not know him accepted his request. In a survey in the surrounding Montgomery area schools when he did this, out of 365 requests, 67 students accepted him.
The point that Hough was making to these children was that anyone can request to be your friend and follow you on a variety of social media sites, and many times you may not know them.
Hough said that unfortunately many children will accept these friend requests without knowing they are allowing a predator to have access to a part of their life.
Another thing that Hough talked to the students about was how easy personal photos sent to friends can spread and stay out on the web forever, or end up in the hands of a predator.
Hough, also talked to the students about a new Alabama law in effect than can prosecute children as young as 12 years old, as adults for sexting and sharing nude photos. He explained to them how easily they can get caught doing this and how it could ruin the rest of their lives.
Brittany Miller, Maxwell middle school counselor, said that students seemed to grasp what he was saying and now know they need to be more diligent when interacting online.
Hough is scheduled to go in depth with parents about the new law and how to help protect their children when they use social media and the internet. He will speak at Squadron Officer School Polifika Auditorium Feb. 9 at 10 a.m., and at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Auditorium at 3 p.m. on Gunter.