LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today praised Grand Rapids Public Schools for reaching the milestone of 7,000 children in one school year completing the Attorney General’s Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative (CSI), a free Internet safety program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
“In today’s digital age, logging on to surf the web and update social media sites is second nature to most students,” said Schuette. Protecting our children from predators and cyberbullies is an important priority.
“I applaud the efforts of Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal and Assistant Superintendent Larry D. Johnson, who partnered with our office to communicate to students across Grand Rapids the message of Internet safety.
“I encourage schools across Michigan to sign-up and schedule a seminar so their students can benefit from this free resource.”
Michigan CSI includes customized presentations for students in kindergarten through eighth grade offered by trained professionals from the Attorney General’s Office. The program addresses consequences associated with the increased prevalence of cyberbullying and ‘sexting’ (the transfer of sexually explicit photos via cell phones), in addition to providing important safety tips about avoiding Internet predators. According to the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one in six U.S. high school students were bullied through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting in the previous year.
“We want to thank Attorney General Bill Schuette and his team for their help, support and outreach to educate more than 7,000 of our students about the issue of cyber bullying since the start of school,” said Grand Rapids Schools Assistant Superintendent Larry D. Johnson. “Schools can never do enough to communicate with students and parents about school safety issues and the Attorney General’s CSI program provide an easy, accessible, and cost free option for schools to use.”
Michigan CSI: Teaching Safe and Responsible Internet Use:
Michigan CSI has been presented to more than 908,000 students throughout Michigan since its inception in the fall of 2007. Michigan CSI presentations include age-appropriate information about safe and responsible Internet use and communicate valuable lessons through discussions about Internet safety videos. Topics covered include:
- How to recognize common Internet predator grooming techniques;
- Appropriate responses to cyberbullying and encouragement to be kind online;
- The dangers of revealing personal information through the Internet or social networking websites;
- The “three keeps”: Keep safe by not sharing personal information, keep away from Internet strangers, and keep telling parents or a trusted adult about anything that makes you uncomfortable;
- The consequences of sharing inappropriate material via cell phones (‘sexting’) or on social networking websites; and,
- A sample Online Safety Contract that can be discussed with parents or guardians.
Schuette noted that Michigan CSI also offers the option of a free community seminar for parents, teachers, and community leaders. The seminar covers the following topics:
1) Accessing the Michigan Sex Offender Registry;
2) The impact of digital footprints;
3) The risk of sharing photos with embedded location information;
4) The dangers and legal ramifications of “sexting”; and,
5) Recognizing the warning signs of cyberbullying and developing a plan of action to combat it.
The Michigan CSI website also includes a community seminar calendar with information about currently scheduled events.
The Attorney General’s office sends trained Michigan CSI presenters to schools and communities across the state. For more information about Michigan CSI or to register for a free seminar in your school or community, visit www.michigan.gov/csi, send an email to AGCSI@michigan.gov, or call the program staff toll-free, 1-877-765-8388.