In January, your child participated in a lesson regarding Internet Safety . This lesson is probably one of the most important lesson that we teach in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Program, as I find that most every teenager revolves their life around the internet and social media.
The students were presented with information regarding the dangers that are associated with the internet and social media applications. We first looked at exactly what the internet was, as most of the students felt like it was just simple applications. I explained that the internet is a electronic communication network which links computers around the world. I explained that it is best to think of the internet like freshly poured concrete, and that every time we log on and use it, we are leaving permanent footprints in the concrete that can be viewed by others. NOTHING WE DO IS EVER SECRET. Next, we discussed the different devices that we use to connect to the internet and how we should always power off any device that is not actively being used. We continued on and discussed what people are usually searching for when online and are as follows:
While most teenagers are not looking for news, travel or sports, they are utilizing the other areas of the internet, specifically Games, Social Networking, Online Shopping and Quizzes. I first spoke to the issue of gaming. I advised that when they are connected to the internet and participating in a "group" game, they should refrain from participating in a group chat, unless it is friends whom they know very well or is family. I explained that just because someone is presenting themselves to be a teenager who is harmless, they might possibly be an adult who is looking to do harm to a child. We then spoke about social networking and how important it is that they carefully review everything before they post it, especially pictures. I gave the old adage of "A picture is worth a thousand words" and explained that often we tell more about ourselves through pictures than we realize. We post pictures in our school uniforms, which provides where we attend school, we take "selfies" and don't realize that we post landmarks, house numbers and/or street names in the background and we even leave our locations on which tell exactly where the picture was taken. My advice to your child was to have a parent/guardian review all pictures before they are posted, because one we post anything to social media there is never a way to permanently delete it. Most of them were surprised at this, because they felt that if they couldn't see it anymore, than it was gone forever. I went ahead and addressed SnapChat and that although they thought those were gone after a few seconds, they were forever saved on the server at SnapChat headquarters. I went on to speak about online shopping and advised that if you purchase something online, that is was important that you go to your internet settings and delete the "cookies", which is smalls bits of data which tracks your online activities. Last, we spoke about online quizzes such as Quiz my Friend or Poll my friend which asks for you to answer specific questions like what is your school mascot, favorite color, favorite sports team, etc. I explained that these question are most commonly security questions that you answered when setting up online accounts and by putting your information out there, you are opening yourself up to potentially be hacked. I advised against answering these types of questions.
We went on to discuss how the internet is much like a spider web, with predators lurking in the "web" looking for their next victim and that if not careful we can find ourselves trapped in their web. Statistics have found that there are approximately 750,000 predators online at any given time. I explained that while some could be potential child abductors, many were just looking for someone whom they could steal personal/financial information from, so that they could assume their identity. I advised that they best way to protect yourself from this is to keep your information private and never give out any personal/financial information online.
In closing, we did an activity where we took the child in the class with the most friends/followers on social media and broke that number down into how many were family, how many were friends (people we actually hang out with in person) and how many were acquaintances (people we talked to in person occasionally but didn't actually hang out with). After subtracting these numbers from the total number of friends/followers we discovered how many people that were on the list that we didn't even know. For most classes these numbers were in excess of 800 people. I explained that when we accept a "friend/follower" to simply boost numbers, we are potentioally setting ourselves up to be harassed and possibly even abducted. I gave a scenario regarding "Chester the Cheetos man" who lives in his mom's basement eating Cheetos. I asked the children to imagine that he had created a fake profile that appeared to be a teenager their age and that they had accepted the friend request. I explained that he could know all about them, just by watching their social media and could easily end up at a sporting event or church they attend and they would not be aware, because they didn't know Chester, they only knew the fake profile he created. I explained how easy it would be for them to be in a bad situation, simply because they were not careful on social media.
As parents, please take the time to discuss this lesson with your child and Please, Please, Please monitor their "friends/followers" lists on all of their social media accounts. I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to teach your child/children and as always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me.
Deputy Anna Banks
In October, your child participated in a lesson regarding alcohol and the effects/consequences which accompany its use. Prior to the lesson, all students were advised that this class pertained to each of them as underage person and was being taught so that they could have the necessary information in which they could one day use when making the decision to consume alcohol as a legal adult. I further advised that this was not being taught for them to go and tell other adults they were bad because they may choose to consume alcohol, because as I explained to the students, using alcohol does not make you good or bad, but you need to be a legal adult before making any decision to use alcohol and you must also know your limits. I advised the students that when the time comes to make this decision, it is best advised to have parent/guardian involvement.
The students were presented with information which made clear why alcohol is classed as a drug, as it is a substance which can be addictive and which alters the bodies ability to function properly. We discussed the different types of alcohol which are available and the side effects which result after consumption. Also, the laws pertaining to underage drinking were discussed. I explained that it is a criminal offense for a person under 21 to purchase/possess/consume any alcoholic beverage and that there are legal consequences for choosing to do so. We discussed a couple of different scenarios regarding these laws. We also discussed the how media puts images in front of us from an early age and presents us with the idea that we must drink to be cool and we talked about why these images are misleading.
Next we discussed long range consequences for using alcohol, especially in large amounts. These can range health issues later in life to a permanent criminal history/record. I explained to each student that one bad decision while under the influence of alcohol, can change not only their life, but the lives of others in a matter of seconds. At this time we discussed the Jacqueline Saburido story which occurred in 1999. A video of the story can be located below.
As always we ended the lesson with an activity, which brought home the reality of the effects which alcohol has on the human body.
For our activity, the students were able to put on our Fatal Vision goggles which are specifically designed to mimic the effects which alcohol has on one's vision and coordination. Each student was given an opportunity to wear two different pairs, one with much greater strength than the other. During the duration (about 30 seconds) of your child wearing the googles, they were asked to walk one foot in front of the other down a line of tape on the floor. As most students quickly found out, it is much easier said than done. By the end of the activity all students were expressing the never wanted to drink, because they didn't like the effects of the googles.
In closing, I explained that just like with the googles, alcohol effects us much more than we often realize and while others may find the way we are acting to be funny, we will be ashamed and embarrassed when we sober up and realize what things we may have done. So as I told the students, the best time to stop a problem is before it begins. Just don't drink!
As parents, please take the time to discuss this lesson with your child and also secure any alcohol that may be present in your home. None of us wants to think that our child or children will even try alcohol, but when we give easy access to it, we inevitably give the opportunity for this to happen. I thank each of you for the opportunity to work with your child or children and as always if you have any questions feel free to contact by phone or email.
Deputy Anna Banks
In September, your child(ren) participated in their very first C.H.A.M.P.S. lesson for the 2018-19 school year. During this lesson your child was given an overview of the C.H.A.M.P.S. program and was advised of the expectations and classroom rules.
Participate in Class
Complete C.H.A.M.P.S. Project in March
Respect others and yourself
Raise your hand to speak
Have a positive attitude
NEVER use names when sharing a story
Your child also learned about choices and consequences and we discussed how EVERY choice has a consequence and that POSITIVE choices = POSITIVE consequences, while NEGATIVE choices = NEGATIVE consequences. I provided students with some questions they need to ask themselves before making decision they feel might be bad.
We further discussed what an alternative is and we discussed activities they can become involved in that will build them mentally and physically to make POSITIVE decisions. Afterwards the students participated in an activity in which I provided them with two choices and they had to choose one and tell the class why they made that choice.
I am blessed to be in my third year as a C.H.A.M.P.S. instructor and look forward to working with your child(ren). If you have any questions about the program or wish to make a donation to the program, please contact me direct at 706.766.0050.
Deputy Anna Banks
Lesson of the Month of January
Lesson of the Month of December
Lesson of the Month of Septemeber
Floyd County Sheriff's Office