CRANFORD, NJ - On Nov. 10, the Cranford Police Department will be presenting a social media and Internet safety program for middle-school and high-school parents. The 90 minute program will begin at 7:00pm at the Cranford Community Center, located at 220 Walnut Avenue.
The presentation, dubbed “Be the Seatbelt” in reference to parents providing safety measures as children navigate the information superhighway, will be coordinated by Detective Sergeant Gerard Quinn. Sergeant Quinn is a 24 year veteran Cranford police officer with over 15 years of experience conducting and supervising criminal investigations involving technology, social media, and the Internet. He was a founding member of the Union County High Tech Task Force and is a Cybercrime Investigations instructor at the John H. Stamler Police Academy. Sgt. Quinn has conducted numerous technology crime awareness programs both in Cranford and neighboring communities.
“Be the Seatbelt” will address the most common social media applications available to children and adolescents, such as Instagram, Vine, SnapChat, Ask.fm, and others. It will also address the positive uses for technology and discuss the potential pitfalls faced by children without a concept of the public and permanent nature of the Internet. After comparing the current technological expansion to the past development of cable television, video games and video cassette recorders, the presentation will conclude with tools parents can use to expand their knowledge and understanding of online socialization and connected devices.
“Technology is always changing and progressing,” stated Sgt. Quinn. “As smartphones, tablets and other connected devices channel the online world for school work, homework and social interaction, parents need to develop a basic understanding of the tools and media available to their children.” He stressed that since technology cannot be totally avoided or ignored, parents need enough information to set limits and provide guidance and good habits to younger users.
Cranford Police Chief James Wozniak believes the program will help make Cranford a safer place. “No one is better positioned than parents when it comes to positively influencing our community’s children,” he said, “and any time we get a chance to expand their toolbox and help them make our community safer, we will always be on board with that.”
The material presented in the “Be the Seatbelt” program is aimed at adults only. Children will not be allowed at the presentation.