Parents and students got a crash course in social media Thursday in an effort to protect themselves online.
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, 20 percent of students say they have been victims and 17 percent admit it has happened more than once, 10TV's Glenn McEntyre reported.
The course at Kilbourne Middle School in Worthington also focused on online predators, helping parents navigate the hazards facing this hyper-connected generation.
For Jaila Henley, 13, and her mother Kanika, the course gave them the keys to the social media kingdom, McEntyre reported.
"She's ready to get her Facebook page now that she is of age. It's very scary for parents these days," said Kanika Jenley.
Kanika brought her daughter to the course at Kilbourne Middle School Thursday night for an education in online safety.
"It's really important to talk to your teens about their online reputation and what they put online," said Erin Kelsey from the Worthington Public Library.
The free seminar for parents was hosted by the school and funded from a grant from the National PTA, McEntyre reported.
Parents and their children learned everything from how to manage privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter to the dangers that lurk online.
"If you don't know who they are, they could be anybody," said Officer Brett Peachey from the Westerville Division of Police. "It could be me, it could be a teacher at your school, it could be the kid at school who hates you, or it could be the pedophile who lives down the street from you."
Officer Peachey also warned of cyberbullying, which he said is more destructive than the schoolyard bullying of the past, McEntyre reported.
"When I was a kid and I went home, I kind of had a buffer. I got away from the bullies at school, unless they came to my house," said Peachey. "Today, you're always connected. That kid goes home and he logs onto his Xbox live game, the kids are there and it starts. He logs onto Facebook, the kids are there."
Despite the warnings, Kanika Henley said she actually feels more comfortable allowing her daughter online now because they're both more aware of the issues thanks to the safety course.
"You can have this page, but make sure you create a dialogue with me so that way I know you're safe, and I'm doing everything I can do as a parent to make sure you're safe, Kanika said.
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