FBI teaches Virginia Beach middle school students about dangers of sexting, online bullying

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Sexting, online bullying and the dangers of posting things on social media are all issues that children are dealing with constantly.

The FBI, which started a campaign called “Think Before You Post," discussed those issues with students at Salem Middle School after the kids won a contest.

Three classes packed the auditorium Friday morning.

“We want these kids to know that their social media presence matters and can impact their future in a good way or in a negative way,” said Vanessa Torres, FBI Community Outreach Specialist.

She and an intern with the FBI provided the kids with information about consequences of their actions, bullying, safety and strangers online.

“Other people could pretend to be kids and they would want to be your friend, meet up with you and then they could kidnap you,” said sixth-grade student Addison Davis. She said she found the presentation very interesting. 

“They need to understand that online bullying follows you forever,” said Lynsey Slaughter, teacher at Salem Middle School.

The presentation also talked about how posts online can impact children's college admissions or future careers.

“Employers are going to check your social media accounts and Instagram and Snapchat,” said Slaughter.

Slaughter was awarded after her class won the Safe Online Surfing Challenge in September, a program through the FBI to educate kids on how to navigate the web safely. The prize for winning was a visit from the FBI.

Torres said parents should start educating at a young age.

"Even as young as when you give your child that iPad or that phone to play on,” she said, “you need to start educating them as soon as possible so that they can understand.”

To learn more about the Safe Online Surfing Challenge, click here.

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