Online Program Teaches Teens Risk

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Internet, Social Media Awareness, Resources and Training or iSMART for short is a new program started by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office that will be implemented in schools all over Sacramento.

iSmart is an interactive program that educates teens about the dangers, risks, and threats social media and the internet poses for them today. This program was created to inform teens about the effect their behavior on social media can have on their lives.

“Because teens are so heavily involved with social media, posting, sharing, commenting, we were concerned about the impact this behavior could have on them socially, in school, and in their future,” said Deputy District Attorney Ruanne Dozier. “Further, we had several cases come to our office where teens had broken the law by posting sexually explicit photographs. They had no idea what they were doing was criminal.”

The Sac City Unified School District, Sacramento Office of Education, Sacramento County Probation, Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, and Sacramento Police Department worked together to create iSMART.

A Deputy DA and a law enforcement officer are in charge of presenting the program to students at a number of schools. Students are taken through several scenarios that are based on real cases and asked questions throughout about the character’s choices and consequences.

“We present to middle school and high school students during the school day but, we DO NOT include parents in the student presentation,” said Dozier. “However, we do have a parent component available to the school district should they want to educate parents about the dangers of social media.”

A brochure is handed out at the parent presentations. The brochure has a condensed version of what the presentation is about and provides links and phone numbers to extra information. The brochure has a list of the top social media sites that can lead to violations of internet safety.

Sac City Unified School District and Folsom Unified School District are being used currently to test run the program. The hope is to interest other school districts as well.

Schools can get this training on campus by contacting their school district or going through Speakers Bureau which is located on the website. There, they can request the program.

iSMART will hopefully educate teens further about internet safety and the legal consequences of every action online.

Instead of just reading about internet safety, this interactive program will give everyone, teens especially, a chance to participate in real life situations. Hopefully afterwards, teens will be able to handle these situations when they occur in their daily lives.

The main goal of this program is to get teens to start thinking before they post on social media.

“Our goal is to get teens to think about what they post, how the posts will affect them today, tomorrow and in the future,” said Dozier. “Yes, we talk heavily about their “digital tattoo” and how it will affect their college application process, recruitment, and job offers. We also get them thinking about how the victim of the posting (if it’s cyberbullying) feels and reacts to these posts.”

To request a presentation go to YouthPrograms@sacda.org

 

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