TORRINGTON, CT, Feb. 3 – Standing before a large audience of All-Star Transportation employees and school administrators, Scott Driscoll cited the dangers children face when they use the internet, and said it was up to adults to protect them by learning safe browsing practices.
“Networking is a way we can work together,” said Driscoll. “So, it’s not all bad. Social media is a positive, if we use it wisely.”
Driscoll, a former Connecticut police officer, was the featured speaker at All-Star Transportation’s first internet safety meeting, which was held Friday in Torrington with local school administrators and staff from All-Star’s Torrington and Winsted terminals. Driscoll also served as a member of a federal task force that explored crimes against children and it was during this assignment that he recognized the need to teach people about internet dangers. He founded a company, Internet Safety Concepts, in 2007 to provide internet education to schools, teachers, parents and others nationwide.
“Young people tend to provide too much information” when using the internet and apps, Driscoll noted. He said parents need to become involved in their children’s use of the internet and social media to protect them from doing harm and to ensure that individual privacy is protected. Driscoll cited four apps that should be of special concern to parents, teachers, bus drivers and anyone else working with children. The four are Kik, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, which are the most popular apps used by children.
He said the four allow the sharing of photos, texts and other information that can compromise privacy and also make it possible for children to share inappropriate material. Driscoll noted that kids as young as 13 can sign up for an Instagram account.
“Young people tend to provide too much personal information,” Driscoll said. But the real problem is typically not the photos they post, but what others share. He said he encourages students and adults to ask themselves if a photo is SAFE before sharing it. He said SAFE is an acronym for Safe and Appropriate For Everyone. If a photo is not something you would want everyone to see, you should not share it.
The safety meeting in Torrington was the first of 10 that All-Star has scheduled with employees and school administrators near the 18 locations where it has service hubs. The final one will be held on March 9 in Prospect.
“We take safety very seriously, and for us, that extends beyond providing safe school buses and skilled drivers,” said Leslie Sheldon, All-Star’s operations manager. “We want all employees to be safe in everything they do, both at work and at home. Obviously, the internet presents a challenge, and we want our employees to be smart when browsing.”
All-Star Transportation is a family-owned and operated school transportation company based in Waterbury. All-Star has 18 locations in Litchfield, New Haven and upper Fairfield counties that service the school transportation needs of 30 cities and towns. The company has more than 1,000 employees and transports more than 50,000 students each day during the school year.