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Sunday, November 23, 2014
Residents gather at South Side Middle School for Internet safety lesson
Brianna Casey/Herald
During the question and answer part of the presentation, Carolyn Vella discusses her concerns on her son Thomas (not pictured) going on Xbox Live.

More than 200 teachers, administrators, parents and students gathered at South Side Middle School on Feb. 21 to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones from the dangers of the cyberspace.

Sponsored by the Drug and Alcohol Violence Prevention Task Force in Rockville Centre, the presentation was jointly given by Ron Gerber, the founder of Angelbeat, the largest Information Technology (IT) event company in North America and Jack McArtney, Director of Corporate and Community Responsibility at Verizon. The two men were both introduced by Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony Santino and Assemblyman Brian Curran, a Republican from Lynbrook.

Gerber stressed to parents the importance of taking a substantial amount of time to monitor their children’s Internet usage.

“Think about what’s going to happen when your kids get their first car,” Gerber explained. “We’re all going to have long talks with them about when to drive, what are the appropriate rules… It’s a very big thing and it’s a very big right of passage when you give your child their first cell phone or their first email account.”

One of the most important roles of the parent, Gerber said, is to stay active in the lives of the children. He also said that for the kids themselves, its vital to truly think about a message before it is sent via text or posted online.

“You want to think really carefully before you do that to make sure it’s the right thing you want to do,” Gerber advised. “Would you really say that to your friend Joey if you’re right next to him? One of the key golden rules is to think before you hit that send button because once you hit that send button, it’s out of your control.”

Gerber also said that students who see something wrong should stop it before it gets out of hand and inform an adult.

Jack McArtney lent his expertise with new technology to the presentation — he was part of the team that helped launch SMS (text) messaging for Verizon more than 12 years ago.

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