By Andrew Bosworth
With over 85% of teens on different social media platforms and over one million children in the United States harassed every year, there is an increasing demand for internet safety education across the country.
Jesse Weinberger, or “Big Mama”, a forensic hacker, speaks to students in all grades, from kindergarten through college, about how to stay safe and out of harm’s way, using playful analogies and humorous anecdotes.
When she came to Schechter on January 30, 2019, Weinberger instructed students, grades sixth through nine, on how “not to be a sheep”, an analogy for how to not place oneself in dangerous situations and make the wrong decisions.
Among teens, 66% have witnessed cruelty online, which is a punishable offense. Freshman Adam Berkowitz said, “It happens… What was scary was that you could do all the right stuff, that I and all my friends do, but you could still end up in deep trouble.”
“People can find your location based on pictures and they can stalk you and come hunt you down,” said freshman Ben Jacobson. Although scary, Weinberger mentioned that people should always be careful of their surroundings and of who they “follow” or “friend” on social media.
Additionally, Weinberger spoke about ways to encourage safety online, such as covering one’s computer webcam or not revealing information about one’s self in a social media profile. Also, Weinberger stressed that one should go to the police if they feel like someone they have never met is suddenly befriending you online. Especially if they are asking personal questions, giving you a feeling of insecurity and violating both yourself and the law.
Internet safety is becoming an increasingly important skill, which Schechter students can benefit from going forward from the seminar.