Los Banos police presentations on cyberbullying and sexting aimed at kids, adults

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 13, 2012 

Training on preventing cyberbullying and sexting is being offered through the Los Banos Police Department.

Crime Analyst Megan Soares on Wednesday told members of the Community Resource Council that dangerous online and cellphone activity is prevalent among youths.

"You would not believe how many of our police reports and fights at school begin with something that happened on social media," Soares said. "People have to remember, it starts on Facebook at 2 o'clock in the morning and it carries on and trickles down into the school day."

Soares said she has two presentations, one for parents and another for children. She said the presentations are each an hour and include a video. Soares said the presentations use examples, such as a sexting case in Los Gatos that led to a teen committing suicide.

The presentations also go into what is punishable by law. For example, if a teen sends a partially or fully nude picture to a boyfriend or girlfriend, that youngster could be prosecuted for distributing child pornography in many jurisdictions.

Soares said she would like to connect with the Los Banos Unified School District to give the presentation to sixth-graders.

"Usually, sexting starts in junior high," Soares said. "I don't think kids understand. There's a story of a girl who was in a chatroom and the pictures got out. They thought they had got it under control... but you can never get rid of it. About four years later it showed up again."

The presentation is also available to community groups, especially those that include parents and children.

The city of Los Banos has not offered this presentation before, but the format will likely follow the one used by other municipalities.

"Usually, what the city of Sunnyvale and other cities have done is schedule the parents and the children to come together and then say, 'Parents go to this room and children go to that room,' and they've done it at the same time."

Soares plans to deliver her presentation to Community Resource Council members at next month's meeting.

"It is definitely valuable," Soares said.

For more information, call Megan Soares at (209) 827-7070, ext. 142.

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