Weekly Feature

2012-02-15 / Editorial

Prevention is key to elimination of online crimes

Bee Editorial

Several days ago, a student at Sweet Home Middle School became the victim of an apparent hacking of a social networking page.

According to Amherst police, a 13-year-old juvenile gained unauthorized access to a student’s Facebook page and posted a reference about bringing a weapon to school and harming others.

Quick action by the Sweet Home School District and the police led to the identification of the juvenile allegedly involved in the incident.

Police were present at the school on Monday to search each student’s bookbag upon entry, and district officials worked with officers to interview students named in the Facebook post.

In a statement posted on the district’s website Monday morning, Superintendent Anthony Day said the district would take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of all students. He also said “successfully investigating instances of Facebook hacking is difficult.”

Although an investigation of such an incident that occurred at Sweet Home schools may be difficult, we believe it is easy to prevent.

While there are many advantages to using social networking sites such as Facebook, there are also many dangers associated with them.

Unfortunately, cyberbullying is an issue that is affecting many children and teenagers today. In addition to being bullied online, students who use social networking may also fall prey to teenagers who can hack into their accounts and post false information.

We are urging students to take advantage of a social network site’s privacy settings. However, there is still a risk that private information could be exposed despite these restrictions, so we also caution you to not post anything that you wouldn’t want the public to see.

If you use social networking, be sure to protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed and be sure to not allow anyone to access your account.

If your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you.

It is also extremely important for parents and guardians to monitor their child’s Internet use — especially when it comes to social networking. If your child becomes a victim of a negative online incident, be sure to alert the proper authorities immediately.

More tips about Internet security and how to protect children from online dangers are available on the FBI’s website at www.fbi.gov.

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