Students hear truth about cyber crimes

Josie Little and Cara Millburg, Editors

On Wednesday, October 19, Academy students filed into the Brady Center to learn about practicing safe cyber behavior from Ms. Brenda Fuller, a member of the victim services unit in the office of the Attorney General. Drawing on her extensive experience in prosecuting predators, Fuller gave Academy students a memorable presentation on the pitfalls that await teens who use technology irresponsibly.

Students learned about the risks and tactics used by online predators as well as what constitutes a cyber crime. Fuller informed them that most predators look for specific types of victims. Young girls who present themselves as lonely or lacking confidence on sites like Facebook are typical prey. Furthermore, she warned them that a predator could attack anyone who isn’t careful.

“Don’t think that it can’t happen to you because it can.” Fuller revealed that one of her own daughters was abducted for two years.

Fuller stressed that students cannot trust someone based only on a friendly profile picture. She proved her point by showing students a series of pictures and asking a simple question: “Which one is the predator?” In almost every instance, students failed to correctly identify the perpretrator. She also shocked students by telling them that the youngest predator she knew of was only ten years old.

Sexting was one of the most shocking topics that Fuller discussed. Although students were aware that sexting involves sending provocative or nude photos, few were aware of the full consequences it brings. Fuller provided accounts of young girls whose lives were ruined because of one picture. In one instance, a nude photo reached a young girls friends, parents, and even her church community. Even though a teen may send a nude photo voluntarily, the act still counts as child pornography. Furthermore, states can choose to prosecute the young girls who pose in these pictures as felons. Receivers of the picture are not always legally accountable.

“I never knew how liable a minor can be for her own pictures,” said Academy junior Savanah Stark.

Before she left, Fuller warned Academy students that there are only three circuminstances where they would see her again. “You know my children, I’m speaking at your school, or you’re going to jail.”

Mrs. Fuller’s program was developed by the Attorney General’s Child Predator CyberCrime Unit. The program travels to all middle and high schools, public and private, in the state of Florida.