Marlton Students Get Schooled on Internet Safety

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MARLTON, N.J. -

Officials with a local school district are tackling tough topics head on, which is why students at Marlton Middle School spent the morning of Friday, October 5th, learning the importance and dangers of internet safety, cyberbullying, and sexting from detectives with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

“This is a nice opportunity for the Prosecutor’s Office to come out, establish a connection with our students, and to share with them some of the safety types of things they need to be concerned with and a part of,” said Gary Hoffman, principal at Marlton Middle School.

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“It’s important to educate the kids, we do that in school itself," said Dave Kohler, detective, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. "But we’re trying to educate them on how to best keep themselves safe online so they’re not making bad choices and mitigate some of the bad things that could happen to them.” 

“Our students, a lot of them have cell phones and have access to them at all different types of hours," said Hoffman. "And [they] have access to apps in which they use these things to communicate; take pictures, send pictures, to communicate with friends [and to] communicate with people that they might not even know.”

Hundreds of 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade students sat through Friday's presentations as the Prosecutor's Office representatives touched on bullying and ways to help, as well as how serious and dangerous talking to someone on the internet can be.

“I learned how easy it is for predators to go online and find out who you are, where you live, and where you go to school,” said Sarah Masters, an 8th grade student at the school.

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Not only did they learn of the dangers of being online, but students say they learned how one hateful text can affect their future.

“We’re at that age now where we have to start making smarter decisions, especially since we all have ... social media," said Irina Le, a  9th grade student at Marlton Middle School. "So we all have to learn about this stuff.”

Prosecutor’s office officials hope assemblies like this one will leave a lasting impression on the students.

“We had a lot of jaw drops when we play the videos that we play, and a lot of kids are paying attention, they’re attentive," said Kohler. "So, hopefully it makes a difference in some of these kids and we can make a change for the better.” 

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