Sergeant Tom Rich, an internationally recognized internet safety expert known as the STOPit Cop,” shared his message with students and parents at Knollwood School on November 29.
At two daytime rallies for students (in grades 4 and 5, and grades 6 through 8) – as well as an evening session aimed at adults – Sergeant Rich (pictured) shared the consequences of misusing technology, social media, and popular apps such as Snapchat and Yik Yak. Using his own cell phone and an interactive presentation, he demonstrated how students can make their devices safer, during the presentations that were made possible by the Fair Haven PTA.
Sergeant Rich has dedicated his career to educating today’s youth about internet dangers through STOPit Cybersafe Rallies; dynamic, energetic presentations designed to help students protect and empower themselves by managing today’s technology in a safe and constructive way. Using teachable moments, Sergeant Rich helps bridge the gap between students and the adults responsible for them – with the goal of encouraging students to be more open about their online activity.
Rich warned that is easy to fall into a trap and share private information with strangers online, especially when gaming. He urged students to reach out to a parent or other responsible adult when on online missteps do occur.
The guest speaker also addressed the topics of bullying and cyberbullying, urging the students to be careful and “think before they click” when posting on social media.
“Bullying is all about perception – we are all different,” he said. “What it comes down to at the end of the day is allowing people to be different and respecting them for it.”
“The issue of cyberbullying is really not about devices — it’s about behavior.”
An 18-year veteran of the Summit Police Department – where he served as a D.A.R.E. Officer, Juvenile Seargent, and Juvenile Detective – Rich has been a keynote speaker at over 700 events nationally, and has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and Fox Television. His message has been heard by over one million students around the world.
More information about Sergeant Rich and STOPit Cybersafe Rallies can be found at stopitcyberbully.com.