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April 25, 2014

South Madison offers 'cyber safety' program for parents

PENDLETON — From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Tmbler, the list of social media websites is long and seems to grow almost daily.

With all the advantages of having a world of information instantly available at your fingertips, there's some scary things happening out in cyberspace and parents need to know how to keep their children safe on the Internet.

That's why South Madison Community Schools is holding a free "Cyber Safety" presentation for parents and community at the Pendleton Heights High School auditorium Wednesday night.

Planning for the event began in March, said Arlene Dawson, principal of Pendleton Elementary School Intermediate. Earlier this month, however, a 13-year-old Pendleton Heights Middle School student was arrested after creating an account on the social media website, Instagram, and threatening to kill students at the school.

"I think what happened is a good example of why we need to educate our parents, staff and students," said Dawon, who organized the program.

The presentation provided free by the Social Health Association of Indianapolis will include discussion about:

• Keeping your child safe on the Internet.

• Cyber bullying and what it is.

• What's new in social media.

• How social media works and how to stay safe.

• What parents can do to ensure their children are using the Internet responsibly.

Dawson said teachers, school guidance counselors and computer instruction specialists hold lessons for students on safe Internet practices throughout the school year.

"I feel that we do a good job in the schools of educating students," Dawson said. "But I feel the pocket of people we're not getting to are parents."

Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

If you go What: Cyber safety program for parents When: 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 30 Where: Pendleton Heights High School auditorium, One Arabian Drive, Pendleton

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