Hambrick speaks to GWCFC students about online safety
By Angelina McDuffie, GWCFC Journalism student
Recently, George Washington Carver Freshman Campus (GWCFC) welcomed a guest speaker to talk about the dangers of the internet and online safety. In the digitally advanced world of today, online dangers are a real threat and could potentially pour over into someone's real life interactions. Catfishing, giving out your location, and sending explicit photos of one's self or another are all topics reached in this presentation.
Jesse Hambrick, a Master Sergeant in the Sheriff's Community Outreach Program and Education (SCOPE), visited GWCFC and gave a gymnasium full of teens a very important lesson on online safety and cyberbullying. He touched on some explicit topics such as lurid photos and the spread of said photos. Many teens do share pictures of them or someone they know in a lurid way without realizing the harm it can do. Hambrick also shared a personal experience with a Quick Response Code (QR code) scanning app in which he learned that you can track the location of where any photo taken within a 12 mile radius. This had the audience gasping and in shock. He used this example as a warning that many people do not know the things that people can do with technology or how much danger it can put a person in.
He then went on to explain how these things can affect the person in question. The teen who shares explicit photos can unknowingly have it spread all around their local area and experience bullying or shunning. There are emotional and legal consequences. If two minors share photos and only have a three year age gap, they will only be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. If a minor sends an explicit photo to an adult, the charge will be more severe with imprisonment of up for 10 years and receive a fine of $10,000.
Another danger is sharing your location with a stranger or doing it unwillingly. Some apps, like the one mentioned previously, can share a private location and give directions to the place where it was taken. There is also a danger of accepting friend requests from unknown people as many people today will make fake accounts under the names of close friends or lie about age, gender, and location.
Young people should never meet up with a stranger without friends. Hambrick shared a story of a girl who accepted a friend request from a girl who was previously friends with her in person. The girl had been fooled and wanted to meet with the “friend.” They met in a Walmart parking lot but it was definitely not her. The man had been in love with her and planned to kidnap her, hide her, and help look for her in hopes she would see him as her hero. The girl had suffocated under the duct tape and died before reaching the cabin in the woods. He buried her there and months later police found out and he went to jail. Hambrick told the students this story in order to prove that anything online can be a lie and that one should always check to make sure that the person they add is known.
At the end of the presentation and throughout he mentioned that decisions are always important and can very well affect the way your life goes. He mentioned many times that "there are several hundred decisions that you make every day that do matter." Online dangers are real and he has proven this by means of personal experience and local experience. Students should take care of their online selves and make sure of everything they do.