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Florida District Holds K-12 Computer Security Workshop

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The School District of Lee County in southwestern Florida last week held a workshop for students, teachers, and parents on Internet safety, including the dangers of cyber bullying, stalking, and impersonation.

Presentations were given by the district prevention specialist, as well as Lee County Sheriff's Office William Byrus and Florida Gulf Coast University technology literacy professor Russell Sabella, according to the Lee County News-Press.

Sabella cautioned the community that social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook can make life easy for predators and stalkers.
He advised attendees against using real names or photos, which can be used by predators to trail users.

Sabella also noted that once a student has an account on the sites, little besides parental supervision can prevent students from viewing inappropriate material. He compared the experience of using the sites as, "going into Blockbuster and having Disney movies mixed in with the XXX movies."

The school district has put up firewalls and filters to prevent students from visiting MySpace and searching for material the district considers inappropriate.

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Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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