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NY Mills learns about cyber safety

Teacher and media specialist, Kent Mollberg, presented three seminars on Internet safety in New York Mills.

"Technology is absolutely amazing," teacher Kent Mollberg displayed to engaged audiences of New York Mills parents, students and school faculty.

"The World Wide Web is like the wild wild west. Nobody is in charge; there are no rules, no policies. We make our own choices."

Mollberg, a Detroit Lakes native, has a master's degree in information technology and has been a media specialist, English teacher and coach for 25 years. Most importantly, he is the parent of two tech savvy teens.

"We need to teach them how to make the right choices."

Earlier in the day, students in grades 5-12 viewed the presentation that also touched upon social networking, textual harassment, sexting, urban legends, identity theft, cyber bullying and predators.

He explained effectively how to monitor browser and mobile phone call histories and said clearing them more than once a day is unacceptable for kids.

"If you don't think your kids are texting at school, you're crazy," Mollberg said.

The presentation was entertaining thanks to Mollberg's creative and visual use of photos, web videos and motivational materials.

Much of the presentation was dedicated to social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Mollberg encouraged parents to get involved in their teens' technological social lives by also creating profiles on such sites.

He said it's important for teens and adults to think before posting. Maintaining privacy settings is vital.

"For every sexual predator, there are ten thousand thieves," Mollberg said. Social networkers should be cautious when posting personal information or venting about teachers and employers. Anything posted is forever. Employers, school districts, marketers and unwanted "creepers," as teens call them, monitor networking sites.

In the past, students have been disciplined for talking, chewing gum or stepping out of line. Today, concerns about drugs, alcohol, cyber bullying, and sexual harassment are the norm. In 1980, we communicated with a rotary phone. Today it's text, social networking and email via mobile phones.

"We need to look at things from a different point of view," Mollberg said. "The schoolyard bully now has a screen name."