Campus Safety Conferences to Address Student Cyber Safety

Three different sessions being presented at Campus Safety Conference East and West this summer will provide cyber safety and social media tips that attendees can share with students and their parents. Here’s an overview of what they will present.

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On the surface, America’s K-12 schools embrace the digital age with dedicated computer labs, technology-integrated classrooms and students well-versed in the Internet as a means for homework and a social life.  However, in its most recent State of K-12 Cyberethics, Cybersafety and Cybersecurity Curriculum report, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) found that most schools are ill-prepared to teach students the basics of online safety, security and ethics – skills that are necessary in today’s digital times.

The Campus Safety Conference East and West will be presenting three K-12 sessions on this hot topic:

  • Workshop: Cyber Safety and Social Media – Threats and Solutions
  • Utilizing Social Media for Event Safety: The Decision Making Process, and
  • Collaborative Approach to Building a Safe and Healthy Digital Environment, three different experts will present solutions to ongoing student cyber safety issues.

The presenters will include Clay Cranford, who is a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s School Mobile Assessment Resource Team (SMART) and Crisis Negotiation Team; Former Boston PD Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey; and Holly Hawkins, who is chief privacy and safety officer at iKeepSafe.

In this Q&A, Cranford discusses the threats that exist online, the tools and resources that schools can use to properly supervise children online and the value of involving parents in the conversation. 

Campus Safety:  Why is cyber-security such an important topic for K-12 schools right now?

Cranford: I’m a juvenile investigator, so I work with students, parents and schools that are dealing with a lot of threatening behavior and other related crimes. A lot of this is taking place on social media. What I’m discovering is that parents, school resource officers and school administrators really don’t understand what’s going on in this realm.

Campus Safety:
How do you help them work through these challenges?

Cranford:  What I’m trying to do is give them a really clear picture of the threats, what’s happening and how students are using social media-often inappropriately. After defining the problem, I give them some practical solutions that they can use to create a safe environment for their students at school or for their children at home.

Campus Safety:  What do parents and educators need to know about the online world that their children are growing up in?

Cranford:  There’s a definite generation gap between today’s youth and those of us who didn’t grow up with social media and technology. As a result, I think there’s a bit of disconnect. As a result, parents and other adults don’t really understand how important and essential social media is to students. This, in turn, creates a real problem and impacts kids in a way that I don’t think parents really understand. For example, a student can have a problem with online bullying that could impact every other part of his or her life in a major way.

Campus Safety:  What’s the best way to approach this issue?

Cranford:  Awareness is the first step. In many cases, they just don’t know what they’re looking for or even where they should be looking. They’re assuming that everything’s just fine because it’s all happening kind of below the surface of their attention. They’re like, “It’s no big deal; it’s just social media.” In reality, it’s a very big deal. Children need to know how to use social media responsibly-just like driving a car. You don’t just throw the car keys at them when they turn 16. We need to be taking all of the preparatory steps and precautions necessary to ensure a safe and secure environment for them online.

The third annual Campus Safety Conferences are educational and training events for anyone who has a stake in ensuring the public safety and security of our nation’s schools, universities, and colleges. Taking place in Washington, D.C., July 25-26, and Long Beach, Calif., Aug. 9-10, the conferences provide full-day training workshops, a campus police chief and a K-12 safety panel, dozens of conference sessions, and more than 35 companies showcasing their products, services, and technologies.

These three social media safety experts will be speaking at CSC West in Long Beach, Calif., K-12 Track, on Aug. 9 and at CSC East in Washington, D.C., K-12 Track, on July 26. To register for the Campus Safety Conferences, visit

Photo: Thinkstock


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