September 8, 2011
GRAND RAPIDS - Attorney General Bill Schuette today visited Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy to announce the launch of the 2011 Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative (CSI), a free internet safety program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade offered by the Attorney General's Office. Schuette's office presented Michigan CSI to 150 students in sixth through eighth grade at Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy. Schuette was joined by Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bernard Taylor Jr., Public Safety Director Larry Johnson and Principal Mark Frost.
"Every day, predators target our children on the internet, and the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative gives children and parents the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe," said Schuette.
Michigan CSI includes customized presentations for students in kindergarten through eighth grade that are offered by trained professionals from the Attorney General's Office. The program has been presented to more than 640,000 students in 455 school districts since its inception in the fall of 2007. The 2011 program announced by Schuette has been revised and updated to address consequences associated with the increased prevalence of cyberbullying and 'sexting' (the transfer of sexually explicit photos via cell phones), in addition to providing important safety tips about avoiding Internet predators.
Michigan CSI presentations include age-appropriate information about safe and responsible internet use and communicate valuable lessons through discussions about animated and realistic fiction videos about internet safety. Topics covered include:
How to recognize common Internet predator grooming techniques;
The dangers of revealing personal information through the internet or social networking websites;
The "three keeps": Keep safe by not sharing personal information, keep away from internet strangers, and keep telling parents or a trusted adult about anything that makes you uncomfortable;
Appropriate responses to cyberbullying and encouragement to be kind online;
The consequences of sharing inappropriate material via cell phones or on social networking websites; and,
A sample Online Safety Contract that can be discussed with parents or guardians.
Schuette noted that Michigan CSI also offers the option of a community seminar for parents, teachers, and community leaders. The seminar covers how to access the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, tutorials on searching a child's social networking site, monitoring Internet history logs, and the use of safe web surfing filters. The website also includes a community seminar calendar with information about currently scheduled events.
For more information about Michigan CSI or to register for a free seminar in your school or community, visit www.michigan.gov/csi, or contact the Michigan CSI program by email at AGCSI@michigan.gov or by calling toll-free, 1-877-765-8388.