It’s not every day that students get a visit from an FBI agent, but that is happening Nov. 15 as a reward for Salem Middle School (SMS) students winning first place in a nationwide Safe Online Surfing (SOS) Challenge sponsored by the agency for the month of September.
“My supervisor from career and technical education sent us this email [about the contest] and I thought this sounded fun and we won,” stated Lynsey Slaughter, computer science teacher.
The competition required students to answer 30-40 questions designed to promote students’ web literacy and safety.
“Some of the questions were about what to do if an adult tries to talk to you and you don’t know them,” eighth grader Madeline Avueg shared. “It’s like common sense safety and stuff.”
Fellow eighth grader Tristan Jones said that answer would be to “make sure not to give out your personal information because it’s how predators find you. You never want to disclose your full name or location to anyone.”
“They also taught you about a good profile: what to share and not to share,” according to eighth grader Chloe Hardison.
Classmate Michael Kosteczko agreed.
“Safe user names don’t show your personal information,” he added.
Both Slaughter and students shared that they learned about online safety from both their class and their families.
“To me it was common knowledge because I grew up in a home where I was taught to be careful online, but I thought the test was really good because it was a good reminder as we are getting older and getting more responsibility. It was good to just go over it again,” according to Hardison.
SMS, which competed in the 1-50 students category since both digital applications and desktop publishing classes took the test, scored 93.14%, performing better than more than 2,000 schools competing nationwide.
“Our students did really well,” Slaughter proudly shared, “and we will definitely compete again.”
During the Nov. 15 visit, the FBI agent will talk to students about online and social media safety as well as how information that is posted online can affect future educational opportunities.
Learn more about the FBI’s Safe Online Surfing Challenge by visiting their website. Or, for information about the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Be Social. Be Smart. Be Safe. campaign, visit vbschools.com.