Biloxi schools warn parents of on-line dangers

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Children can get everything from homework help to study tips just by logging onto the Internet, but there can also be hidden dangers. Tuesday night the Biloxi school district is hosting a seminar called "Tech the Halls". School officials say it's an effort to teach parents how to keep their children safe on-line.

At school, Biloxi Junior High students use computers for things like sharpening their typing skills. At home, the teenagers say they get on the computer to visit on-line social networks like My Space or Facebook.

Thirteen year old Micah said his parent monitor his on-line activities "sometimes."

His classmate, Ryan, has parents who are a bit more curious. He said "They look for any profanity or anything like that. It keeps me safe and if anybody tries to hurt me they'll know who it is."

Brittany is about to celebrate her 14th birthday. She's not thrilled that her mom checks up on her. "I kind of wish that she hadn't but she's my mom."

The Biloxi school district says whether teenagers like it or not, parents need to know what their children are doing on line and who they are talking to.

Dr. Paul Tisdale, Biloxi School Superintendent said "You think about how quickly news spreads over the Internet. What if somebody targets your child? What if somebody threatens your child? Does your child have a page on Facebook? Is you child threatening others. Parents need to be aware."

"In the good old days, I had neighbors who would tell my parents what I was doing," said Tisdale. "Now our neighborhood is not just what is physically around us. It's also what's in the ether, the Internet."

Students we talked to said they are careful not to give too much personal information and even with new technology, the old phrase "Don't talk to strangers" still applies

Micah said "I just deny whatever they sent me. Just ignore it. Act like it never happened."

The seminar is Tuesday night at Biloxi Junior High Auditorium at 6 pm. There will also be information on how parents can access their children's grades, teachers and more via the web.