Michigan City High School students learn about digital security
Michigan City High School students recently learned about digital security during a presentation with Cathie Bledsoe of the Indiana State Police.
During the presentation at MCHS, Bledsoe told the students, “When I look around in this room, I see potential victims and potential predators.” Bledsoe is part of the Indiana State Police’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and was visiting MCHS as part of a proactive approach to discuss digital safety. She is a former computer science teacher who now uses her technological knowledge to fight online solicitation, human trafficking and other crimes targeting children.
To demonstrate how easily a predator can receive electronic information, Bledsoe said she started using a tracking program early in her presentation. She announced she could track a T-Mobile phone, a Nokia phone, Apple Watches, headphones and an insulin monitor – all in the MCHS auditorium at the time. She could determine the longitude and latitude of any device, even if the Bluetooth connection was off.
“The information comes from your device and speaks to other devices,” she said. “Your computers weren’t designed to be private. They were designed to collect information, process information, share information, and instantly send that information. Computer geeks like me have access to everything you done.
Bledsoe said some predators commit crimes without even realizing it. She said a person can be classified as a trafficker simply by sharing photos. She added that a person as young as 10 can be charged as an adult with committing a crime in the state of Indiana, and that the youngest age at which a person can register as an offender sex in the state is 14 years old.
“Your generation is the first generation that has no privacy. You put your whole world on computers,” she said. “With three cameras and a microphone, your phone collects information while you don’t. don’t even realize that it shares your information all over the world. Everything you say, everywhere you go is recorded. Learn how to protect yourself to have a bright future.
The presentation was coordinated by Michigan City High School’s Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program. Ray Davis, who oversees the JAG program at MCHS, said he thought it was an important lesson for high school students to help them become better digital citizens.
“They’re glued to their phones, and some are using them for negative things,” he said. “They need to understand the responsibility that comes with using this technology, and I hope the students who were here will share this information with their friends and we can have a greater impact.”