On November 9th I attended a parent’s meeting at a middle school in Ossining. Beforehand, we were told that we would be speaking to a group of parents who were very concerned about the dangers of allowing their kids to go onto social networking websites. On the drive to Ossining, I looked over my speaker’s notes for the presentation. I practiced my methods of deep breathing so that I would be relaxed before presenting. We entered the school and set up our technical equipment on stage. After each of us looked over our notes more than once, the parents of children in the Ossining school system began to take their seats. We listened as the principal of the school stated her views on middle school students visiting social networking sites. She then introduced us and we took our place on stage. I could feel that sensation of excitement mixed with my nerves as I prepared to present at the podium. I presented a slideshow on cyberbullying and its effects. I also spoke of how parents should be involved in their children’s access to the Internet. As I spoke, a feeling of great importance swept over me. In that moment, I was teaching parents how to keep their children safe… how to potentially save millions of lives. Afterwards, I listened to a police officer speak about the dangers of MySpace. He began with a description MySpace, and then gave examples of the dangerous content that anyone can access and he even showed the crimes resulting from this social networking site. The detective’s words impacted me in many different ways and I could not stop thinking about the statistic- 54% of children have communicated with a stranger online. These experiences make me very proud to be a Teenangel and I look forward to many more presentations in the future.
-Kate (a Teenangel from the New Rochelle Chapter)