Cyber Crimes Unit visits HHS

Published 12:37 pm Thursday, October 5, 2017

Members of the Kentucky State Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit visited Harlan Middle/High school to teach students the importance of internet safety and bring awareness to the potential dangers associated with various social media platforms.

Sgt. Mike Bowling, of the Cyber Crimes Unit shared with students and faculty the repercussions of cyber bullying, and sending sexual images, videos, and messages to minors. Along with many stories of past cases, the detectives also shared startling statistics to illustrate the prevalence of these crimes. One statistic showed that 49 percent of teenagers under the age of 18 have been pressured for sexual images and videos online, 65 percent experienced bullying on Internet platforms, and only 39 percent asked for help. Principal Britt Lawson noted, “We are working to help students have a better view of how to be safe online and the many dangers out there.”

Assisting with the presentation were Cyber Crimes Unit detectives Craig Miller and Bryan Johnson, who serve the East and West regions respectively. The detectives shared information on past cases highlighting these subjects and their outcomes while emphasizing to students how to handle similar situations.

The students and faculty responded positively to this program. Junior, John Brady Brock said, “It was a very informative program. It really brought up things that are actually happening in school. It is good because it lets students know what to do and how to handle those situations if they are ever in them. It made me feel more confident to be able to tell an adult or officer if I am in one of those situations.

Spanish teacher, Sandy Wilson, praised the program because “teenagers don’t realize enough the dangers of the Internet and how vulnerable they are. Once something is out there, it’s out there, and there is no pulling it back or making it disappear. The state police gave a wonderful illustration of that in their presentation today. Younger kids are so wanting to please others and to be accepted that it makes them even more vulnerable.” Superintendent, CD Morton ended the program by asking student to “have the self-respect needed to not become involved in sending and receiving inappropriate materials. You should exercise the courage needed to ask for help when these circumstances occur. You are surrounded by people who care about you and want to help you navigate these sometimes-difficult teenage years.”

In his 13 years as principal, Britt Lawson has experienced many problems originating from social media. “I believe a big part of it is that kids are not informed properly. They simply don’t realize the significance of what they are doing.”

Also assisting with the presentation were Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs and KSP Sgt. Josh Brashears.