BASCOM - Local law enforcement officers are developing a program to educate students about cyber bullying, sexting and Internet safety.
Rob Bour and Dave Horn, detectives with Tiffin Police Department, presented information to Hopewell-Loudon Local School District students Tuesday.
More students are to hear the presentation today, and there also is to be a free parent presentation at 7 p.m. today in either the distance learning laboratory or the auditorium, depending on the number of people who attend.
Bour said local law enforcement officers borrowed a program Fremont Police Department developed. He said he and Kevin Reinbolt, a detective with Seneca County Sheriff's Office, plan to put together a program for city and county schools.
"We may add or subtract (to Fremont's program). ... We were interested in bringing it here," Bour said.
Bour told students law enforcement needs their help because there are more than 90 million children in the United States who use the Internet, and there are no Internet police. He said police need their eyes and ears to help catch predators.
He said one in four children who use the Internet have had unwanted exposure to sexually explicit pictures on the Internet, and one in 17 had been threatened or harassed. He directed students to check the listing of sex offenders on the Seneca County Sheriff's Office website.
"Be careful," he said. "Get on there (and) check people out."
Children are ideal victims, Bour said.
"You're naturally curious, easily led by adults," he said.
According to statistics Bour provided regarding Internet sex crimes against children, 99 percent of offenders were male, 86 percent were older than 25 and 97 percent acted alone.
Bour and Horn also explained the dangers of social media.
Bour said students should know who their friends are on Facebook and said he likes to make his posts available to be seen by friends only. Once people post pictures, he said, they cannot take them back.
"Facebook's not a bad thing, however, it can be dangerous," he said.
Horn said once people get a Facebook account, it always will be there.
"You cannot delete Facebook," he said.
Cyber bullying also was part of the presentation to students.
Bour questioned why people would say something online that they wouldn't say in person.
"Sometimes, people are cowards," he said.
Sending threatening texts or instant messages is considered menacing, and law enforcement officers can take phones and computers because they are considered criminal tools, he said.
Bour defined sexting as people taking pictures of themselves naked and sending them to others. It is considered child pornography if it involves a person younger than 18. In Ohio, sending or possessing child pornography is a second-degree felony, according to his presentation.
"People don't think," he said.