By SARAH GRACE TAYLOR
Williamson County Schools and Homeland Security Investigation sare releasing cautionary videos to warn students and parents against the dangers of the Internet.
“Digital Dangers,” a series of over 20 short videos, will address the unique dangers of texting, social media, email and other Internet communication and sharing platforms.
Homeland Security Special Agent Dennis Fetting spoke at the Schools’ central office on Friday, encouraging parents to watch the videos and be aware of what dangers their children face.
“Williamson County is such an amazing place to live but people kind of have this concept that they live in the ‘Williamson Bubble’ and that there’s not anything major or bad that happens here,” Fettig said. “So sometimes I think parents might be uninformed or a little lax about watching what their kids are doing online.”
Fetting, who has been working with the schools for several months to create these videos, says that Williamson County is just as populated with digital sex crimes as the rest of the state.
“The rising trend we is a type of investigation we work called sextortion,” Fetting said. “That is basically online blackmail of children by adult predators.”
Fetting highlighted the growing epidemic of adults posing as children to coax children into sending compromising photos or video and then using those to extort children into sharing personal information or more inappropriate content.
“The scariest thing for me as a parent as well is the permanence of that data,” Fetting added. “… the most important things is there needs to be oversight from parents in what their kids are doing online so that these types of images and videos never make it to the web because once they do, they’re out there forever.”
Becky Mitchel, a County Schools counseling specialist, echoed Fetting, highlighting the importance of parental supervision.
“We do things and create materials to teach students safety. We intervene when we can, but so much of this happens after school so it’s crucial that parents know what’s going on,” Mitchell said. “The things that we deal with have to really permeate into the school day for us to be able to address it … that’s why we have videos and outreach to parents.”
WCS will release one video every other Friday beginning this week.
The first video can be viewed here: