by Krystal Paco
Guam - From cyberbullying, sexting, online child sex exploitation or just too much information online, Cyber Safety Pasifika launches on Guam this week. For the remainder of the week, officials from the organization along with the Guam Police Department are set to reach out to 1,000 students from middle and high schools on the dangers of putting too much information online with a focus on privacy, relationships, and reputation.
Cyber Safety Pasifika's Mel Sevil said, "We really encourage them to think about what information they share, who they share it with and how it can affect them both now and into the future because what we often find in young people is that they think it's never going to happen to them that they're invincible."
Although it's tough to say when a crime is committed online this program empowers youths by providing information on what's unacceptable online behavior. Sevil admits there's a disconnect between youths and law enforcement officials when addressing such issues which inspired the program that's now present in six islands in the Pacific Region - Guam the seventh.
GPD spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia says it's not just students learning the program but GPD officers who'll run the program after this week. "They're only here for four days so we're just going to learn from them how to do it and take it from them," he said.
Although there's no local data on cyberbullying and sexting, federal agent Melissa Northam says the program which is funded through the Pacific Transsexual Crime Network for the next four years, allows Guam to adjust the program to our cultural needs as well as garner the support of other agencies. "We're very much about supporting you and supporting the program but also understanding that each country has its own cultural requirements has its own needs," she said.
Northam noted, "It's not one party's responsibility, it's not the government's responsibility it's police so we're very much about having in this instance one party driving it but recruiting other areas of government to get involved especially the education department."
Parents are welcome to attend an informational session Wednesday night at the Tamuning Elementary School cafeteria at 6pm.