GREEN RIVER (WNE) — Once it was rare to find a household with a computer. Now young kids walk around with them in their pockets. As technology improves interconnectivity, it also increases the exposure to dangers, especially for younger users.
Green River Police Chief Tom Jarvie has watched threats develop over the years.
“With that development in technology came great and wonderful things, and at the same time opportunities for very bad things,” he said.
Jarvie has looked for programs and partners to help children use the internet safely. That is why he is encouraging the Sweetwater County School District No. 2 board of trustees to consider the Cyber S.W.A.T. program to increase online awareness and safety. If approved, Green River High School would join eight other schools in piloting the peer-to-peer mentoring program before a national rollout.
The Safe Surfin’ Foundation created Cyber S.W.A.T. to help youth navigate online communities safely, make positive choices and avoid unnecessary risks by educating students, teachers, and parents. About 45% of youth say they’re online nearly constantly, according to the presentation. Providing guidance and support can help them protect themselves and create stronger communities.
Under the proposal, school resource officers from the Green River Police Department would work with students in a club setting in free periods or after school. Participants are taught about internet dangers and trained to teach others. The goal is for the program to be student-led, since students are more likely to listen to and learn from their peers. Students would share what they’ve learned in presentations at schools.