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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Wausau Schools Host Google in Effort to Teach Students About Online Safety


Google’s “Good to Know” Road Show Stops at Horace Mann Middle School


MADISON — Before nearly 600 sixth-grade students, their teachers and caregivers, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Horace Mann Middle School Principal Dr. Julie Sprague hosted Wisconsin’s first-ever “Good to Know” school road show, designed by Google to educate kids about how to stay safe online. 


“This program has a lot of sound – and common sense – advice that we all need to be aware of in today’s digital age,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.  “Kids today often know more about apps and connecting with others online than we do as adults, but they’re not always mindful of the possible threats.  I encourage families to check out the ‘Good to Know’ program and revisit their online safety plan with their children, much as they would talk about ‘street smarts’.  The Internet’s an incredible tool, but with technology – and those who exploit it for criminal activity -- there’s always more to learn.”


Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Williams “was both thrilled and delighted to have had the Attorney General and Google here in our school district to share their expertise on how to keep students safe while navigating the Internet.”


Sprague noted that “one of Wausau School District’s Shared Key Interests centers around safety, and this tremendous opportunity allowed us to focus specifically on digital safety.  Our students and staff alike learned valuable information today.”


The 45-minute “digital citizenship” program, held today at Horace Mann Middle School in Wausau, was tailored specifically for the age group and emphasized five key tips from Google:


  • Think Before You Share:  What you share and with whom you share it can end up saying a lot about you.  Anything you post online has the potential to be shared.  If something you shared privately became public, how would that make you feel?  And how might it affect how others think about you if they saw it?  So it’s always good to think about these things before you share online.
  • Protect Your Stuff:  Set strong passwords on your accounts to safeguard your information, and don’t share those passwords with anyone, unless it’s a parent or trusted adult.  Also, lock your device and don’t leave screens open to prevent hacking.
  • Know and Use Your Settings:  Settings on the sites you visit allow you to choose what you share and with whom you share it.  Understand the settings and adjust them on the sites and apps you use to ensure you only share information with those you want to see it. 
  • Avoid Scams:  Everyone knows you never take candy from a stranger.  The same principle applies online.  If someone offers you some new shoes, an iPad or told you that you won a trip to Hawaii - you should be suspicious.  This might seem harmless, but these could be very dangerous ways to lure you in and steal your passwords or even your identity.  And sometimes, scammers might try to impersonate someone or something you know.  It's called phishing.  So if it seems fishy, it probably is.
  • Be Positive:  Only post, comment or forward something, if you wouldn’t mind someone doing the same to you.  Because even small quick actions online can have a lasting impact.  And if you DO see something that is cruel, unkind or offensive - whether it's on your own profile or elsewhere, feel empowered to report it.  All reputable sites online have reporting techniques.  Just like you should know where the settings are on sites you use, you should also familiarize yourself with the reporting settings.  But keeping it positive online is a great way to avoid having to use reporting settings, and a great way to encourage others to be kind on the Internet as well.


More information about the “Good to Know” program is available here.  Click here for a photo from today’s event.