WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. — There was plenty of activity at 4 a.m. in the playground of Assumption School on Feb. 6, as 16 sleepy students, grades 4 through 7, boarded the early-morning bus to Washington, D.C., to attend the WiredKids Summit on Internet safety.
Accompanied by principal Dr. Gainnelii, a Wood-Ridge police sergeant, and five parent chaperones, once in Washington, they were joined by six other Assumption students, technology teacher Margaret Sullivan and tween and teens “angels” from all over the county.
TeenAngels are seven- to 18-year-old volunteers who are trained by Internet safety lawyer Parry Aftab, WiredSafety experts, local law enforcement, and other leading experts in online safety, privacy and security.
Volunteers Study Privacy and Security
Assumption School has been involved with TeenAngels for four years. WiredSafety is the parent organization and WiredKids is the student division. Yearly, the groups hold a summit where the students speak to representatives from major Internet corporations, including AOL, MSNBC, Disney, Webkins and Facebook, Sullivan said.
The students presented research and trends to executives of the Internet industry. Sixth-graders from Assumption presented research on handheld devices such as Nintendo and PlayStation, along with results from their student surveys, asking questions like: “Which handheld device do you own?” “What are the ratings of the games that you play?”
Students Present Research
The younger students participated in a mock cyberbullying panel, in which they pretended to be threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or targeted on the Internet, or on a mobile phone.
The students worked for months studying cyberbullying, practicing skits, creating welcome signs, and designing awards. They also created a game called “Are You Smarter than a TeenAngel?” which was played during the summit.
Some honored guests at the summit included Chris Hansen of Dateline NBC, MSNBC technology reporter and Assumption graduate Bob Sullivan, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak from Michigan, Facebook CEO Chris Kelly, and others.
Earlier this year, Assumption students participated in “Stop Cyberbullying Day.” Students in grades four to eight gathered in the gym on Jan. 31 with their principal, teachers, parents, parish priests, and represetnatives from DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) to view a power point slide show titled “5Ws of Cyberbullying” that was created by the fifth grade tweenangels.
Sullivan said that the presentation “explained who cyberbullies are, where it happens, what it is, and what to do if it happens to you, what happens when someone is cyberbullied, and why someone would act this way.”
For more information about Teenangels, visit the organization’s Web site.