Whitesboro ISD educates students on the dangers they face online

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WHITESBORO, TX -- It's a new day and age for teenagers.

Matt Tibbetts, with TBG Solutions, said most teenagers these days have a smartphone.

"Many of them have more than 1 phone as well. One their parents know about. One their parents don't," Tibbetts said.

And that's one of the reasons Whitesboro ISD wants to educate students about internet dangers. The school district brought in Tibbetts Monday to host an assembly on staying safe online.

"And they're just in this culture where they think they can post whatever they want without the consequences. The reality is, if you put it on the internet, it's up there forever. It's permanent," Tibbetts said.

Tibbetts travels to schools around the state driving home the message that what you post on the internet follows you - forever.

"It's out there for anybody to find. And 90 percent of job recruiters will look at social media before they hire you," he said.

It's important for parents to stay vigilant. But Tibbetts also wants to make sure the kids understand how social media will impact their own lives.

"I once managed a page with 90,000 likes. And a kid once messaged a page, 13-year-old boy, and I could zoom in, see his house, the area of the house he lived in, right to where he sent that message, because of his smartphone. His smartphone gave that information up. And that's the access they're allowing into their lives," he said.

Vince Sharp, Whitesboro ISD director of Intervention Services, said social media also opens kids up to cyber bullying.

"Online, you can't avoid them. So even when you get home from school you could still be facing those same bullies on Facebook or Twitter, or even text messaging," Sharp said.

He hopes Monday's assembly will be an eye-opener.

"Something just to wake the kids up. That their words, even online, can have a major impact," Sharp said.

Tibbetts said they're hosting a free webinar on internet safety in conjunction with the state this Wednesday. You can register for the webinar here: www.texasisd.com

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