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"What's Behind the Screen?"

November 30, 2012

COVENTRY – If there’s no getting away from ways to hurt someone using technology, then parents and educators need to make it a priority to continually educate themselves on the realities of cyber bullying and become just as cyber savy as kids are.

This was the main message Detective Kevin Harris and Officer Jason Burlingame, of the Coventry Police Department, wanted to convey at the anti-bully program “What’s Behind the Screen,” Wednesday at Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School.

The program was no-nonsense information that every parent, teacher and administrator can use to help prevent every form of cyber bullying, mainly through the use of social media.

Harris began his presentation by explaining a few simple ideas such as what an IP address is and what smart phones can do.

“An IP address is just a serial number that is a cyber address for your home,” he said. “From there, the connection splits off to however many devices you have in your home that can connect wirelessly. Smart phones are mini computers, make no mistake about that. They have every capability a computer has.”

It’s known that bullying can happen through email and texts but it happens more through Facebook and other social media.

“More people use Facebook than Google,” said Harris, who also works closely with the Rhode Island State Police. “And another way for someone to bully another is through on line gaming.”

He strongly recommended parents buying themselves a headset and listening in to what their child is hearing and who they’re talking to.
“Anyone could be on the other end of that, they could be in a chat room with 30 other people,” he said.

“If you think ‘not my kid,’ think again. I promise you they’ve looked at things you swear they haven’t,” said the Detective.

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