Mt. Pleasant students, faculty warned of 'darker side to technology'
A retired deputy chief with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office this week shared information that may help keep children and adults safe when using technology in its various forms within the Mt. Pleasant Area School District.
James Dill, who is currently the president of Innovative Technology & Investigative Solutions, presented the “Darker Side of Technology” at the district's junior-senior high school auditorium.
Earlier that day, he shared the same presentation with junior high school students and the faculty of the junior and senior high school.
Norvelt District Judge Roger F. Eckels, who is also a member of the Mt. Pleasant Area Drug Awareness Committee, last saw the presentation roughly one year ago, he said.
However, Eckels said he was amazed to discover what was added to the presentation in a 12-month span regarding the dangers technology can bring.
“We owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves to protect our children,” said Eckels, adding that the committee sponsored Dill to speak.
Dill covered such topics as cell phones, sexting and “sextortion.”
Dill said the cellphones, especially the smart phones, have replaced so many tools as people have begun storing addresses and phone numbers, photos and videos, emails, calendars and other information that thieves can potentially sell.
“If there's one thing you get out of this tonight, please password protect your phone,” Dill said. “What can I learn about you from your cell phone?”
While smart phones have made it easier for burglars, stalkers and child predators to find their victims, a growing demographic is also becoming more vulnerable with such technology.
“More kids have cellphones now than ever before,” said Dill, citing surveys that show 83 percent of middle school children have cellphones and a majority of those children have smart phones, which are essentially computers.
Be it a cellphone, an electronic tablet or a computer, more children are becoming victims and perpetrators of cyber-bullying and sexting.
“One out of five kids has sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves,” said Dill of sexting.
“If you think it's not a problem in your school, you're wrong,” he said.
Dill said sexting is texting gone wrong, as it normally starts with a teen taking such a picture of themselves and sending it to someone they're dating. When the relationship ends, however, that photo is then passed around and shared, causing humiliation, which has led to suicide in some incidents.
“They (children) don't look at the long-term consequences,” Dill said. “It can dramatically damage one's life and self esteem.”
A newer offspring of sexting is sextortion. This occurs when a predator contacts a teenager, or even an adult, gains their trust, and has them send a semi-nude photo or a photo of them in their underwear, Dill said. The predator then tells the targeted person to send a nude photo or the first photo will be sent to their family, their classmates, their teachers, their co-workers or their bosses.
Dill said the sextortionists will ultimately blackmail their victims into performing sex acts on them.
“The key is parental involvement,” said Dill, adding that parents should educate their children regarding the harm sexting could cause.
He added that it is a crime, even if a teen sends a photo of themselves, and they could be charged as a sexual predator if caught doing it more than once. “If you hear about this, try to get them (the children) help,” Dill said.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Huntingdon woman charged with threatening to burn down officer’s house
- Fire damages Derry house
- Burger named for late Greensburg VFD member star of ‘bashes’
- Greensburg man held for trial in hospital assault
- Latrobe couple who locked son in car trunk avoids jail
- Man snatches purse behind mall
- Westmoreland Glass Co. plant sale fought
- Injured eagle in Somerset County returns to the wild
- Westmoreland County commissioners honor work crew that saved family
- Hookah bar on tap for Greensburg
- Greensburg pawn shop aids in arrest of home repair scam suspect