Trooper Simpson speaks to students about cyberstalking

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Michigan State Police Trooper Ashley Simpson talks to students Tuesday at Thunder Bay Junior High about cyberstalking and how to use the Internet safely.

ALPENA — Michigan State Police Trooper Ashley Simpson talked to Thunder Bay Junior High students about cyberstalking and how to be safe when on the Internet on Tuesday.

“We are here to teach kids that whatever they put on the media really doesn’t stay where they think it goes,” Simpson said. “It’s not private and it’s not just for their friends or family to view. Basically anyone can view it.”

Simpson said she spoke to the students because they are a very influential age group and have grown up with technology, so that is what they know.

“I think the sooner that we can let kids know that there are bad people out there using what they are posting, they will think twice about it now then at a later time,” she said.

Teacher Christin Sobeck said there is so much online and technology driven activity so it’s important for students to know.

“We study academics, but technology is an integral part of the generation,” she said.

Sobeck said they want to make sure students are safe when they are online to protect themselves and their information. When students get ready to job search, Sobeck said they need to make sure they are making the right decisions now so they can make better decisions in the future.

“I think one of the benefits of having Officer Simpson here is to have the law side of it,” she said. “Sometimes it’s yes or no, this is what you shouldn’t do, but just so they understand that their online activity has repercussions versus just whatever I post can be good.”

Sobeck said posting on social media is what people do every day.

“We are all so nonchalant with it, so when we do post and we do share information it isn’t a bad thing. But we need to make sure, especially as minors and young kids, that we keep them and their information safe,” she said.

Teacher Kelly Belew told the students that if anything ever feels wrong, even for a second, they should tell a trusted adult, which are teachers or a family member, because the students should always feel safe.

“We’re trying to address the tremendous issues with bullying and trying to get students to think twice before they post and before they do anything that can come back around and become an issue in their lives,” Belew said. “We can start teaching them young and that’s motivational.”

Simpson told the students that kids ages 9 to 14 are the most common age group for both bullying victims and being the bullies.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.