Liz McCormick Published

Google Visits Berkeley Springs for Online Safety Event


Representatives from Google made a stop in Berkeley Springs Monday to speak with middle schoolers about staying safe online.

Here at Warm Springs Middle School in Berkeley Springs, 470 sixth, seventh and eighth-graders sit in the bleachers of their gymnasium listening to two representatives from Google.

This is Google’s Online Safety Roadshow. Google stopped here to speak with students about developing good habits when they’re online.

The Google reps played interactive games with the students and showed them short animations to help explain why it’s important to stay safe when browsing the web or using an app.

Google shared five main good habits:

  • Think before you share something
  • Protect your profiles and photos
  • Know and use your settings for each device or app
  • Avoid scams
  • Be positive when interacting with others

Hynnja Dietrich, an eighth-grader at Warm Springs Middle, tells me some of the different apps she uses on a regular basis. From Facebook to Pinterest, she says out of Google’s five tips, she was most interested in being conscientious of what you post and share.
“Make sure like, before you send something out that it’s not going to hurt anybody else, or like you wanna make sure that if you’re going to post it, that, make sure it’s not going to affect you later on in life,” Hynnja said.

Google spokeswoman Jamie Hill says it’s crucial to teach online safety to this age group.

“We know about 93 percent of teens are online,” Hill noted, “and this is the age where they might be getting that first device, that first cell phone, starting to see technology play a larger role in the classroom, and so it’s a great time to help them start building best practices early, so that then as they get older, they already have those best practices.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito was also at the event. Capito says that while Monday’s presentation didn’t spark any specific online safety legislation, she says it’s still important issue for lawmakers to keep an eye on.

“Certainly there’s a lot in cyber security in terms of, in the bigger picture, whether it’s national security or financial security or security of the energy grid,” Capito said, “so there’s all different kinds of security that we’re dealing with on the internet in that realm. But I think for, in education, we want to make sure that the internet’s used as the education tool that it can be and the social networking tool, you know, just making sure that those parameters are followed and that users know exactly what they’re doing.”

The Google Online Safety Roadshow continues its journey across the country and plans to stop next in Kentucky.