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Thursday, May 11th, 2006 -- 10:22 AM

Students in Loyal English teacher Vanessa Csencsics? Mass Media Class got more than a typical lesson Wednesday.

The 8th hour class learned about Internet based crimes.

Recent news indicating a 22-year-old UW-Stevens Point student allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old Marshfield girl he met on the Internet has brought the danger of kids? on-line activities to the fore.

?They put out personal information, they ?blog?, they give out pictures,? Csencsics says. ?It?s very easy for predators to find them.?

?Blog? is short for ?web log?. A web log is basically an on-line diary. Blogs have become extremely popular; in fact, the 14-year-old Marshfield girl allegedly met with the 22-year-old from Portage County after meeting at Myspace.com ? a blogging site.

Aside from sexual predators, students learned about other cyber crimes for an assortment of guests, including social workers, a detective and an area state legislator.

Csenscics says students and parents might not be fully aware of all the ramifications of putting personal information on public websites.

?The students say the know people who do put a lot of personal information on the web,? Csenscics says. ?A lot of this will come into play in the future with job (applications).?

?Who knows, maybe in the 2016 Election, there will be something coming out saying our future President had these types of pictures on the Internet at one time.?

As part of the classroom discussion on Cyber Crimes, students watched episodes of Dateline NBC. The TV news magazine conducted stings where people posed as minors on-line.

?They hired these people, deputized them and had them go (online) and pose as 13- and 14-year-old kids ? both boys and girls,? Csenscics explains.

The students were ?very much taken aback? by the variety of predators who tried to make contact with people they believed were minors. Their professions ran the gamut and many didn?t appear to be the stereotypical criminal, according to Csenscics.

A recent study found as many as one in four teen girls reported that they met strangers off the Internet.

On the Web:
[url=http://www.netsmartz.org/]Net Smartz[\url]
[url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6083442]Dateline NBC Report[/url]

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