Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced the Attorney General-led Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative has reached the milestone of presenting to one million children. The Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative is a free Internet safety program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, presented by the Department of Attorney General. To commemorate the milestone, Schuette and Attorney General staff presented the CSI program to an assembly of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at McMonagle Elementary in the Westwood Heights School District of Flint.

“Through the Michigan Cyber Safety initiative, partnering with schools across Michigan, we have given more than one million students across our state the tools to stay safe from dangerous Internet predators,” said Schuette. “I encourage schools across Michigan to sign up and schedule a presentation so their students can benefit from this free resource.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Attorney General Schuette to bring this vitally important information to our students. Keeping our students safe from harm on the Internet is a major priority for our district and McMonagle Elementary,” stated Salli Stevens, Superintendent of Westwood Heights Schools. “The Attorney General’s willingness to come to our school and present this program in person speaks volumes to us about the concern he has for the safety or our students of how important this issue is to him.”

Michigan CSI includes customized presentations for students in kindergarten through eighth grade offered by trained professionals from the Attorney General’s Office. The program addresses consequences associated with the increased prevalence of cyberbullying and ‘sexting’ (the transfer of sexually explicit photos via cell phones), in addition to providing important safety tips about avoiding Internet predators.

According to the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one in six U.S. high school students were bullied through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting in the previous year. The Michigan CSI program intends to promote a culture of compassion in schools, as well and empower students to stand up for bullied students. A study from a Canadian journal suggests more than one-half of the time, bullying stops within ten seconds of a bystander stepping in to help.

Michigan CSI has now been presented to one million students throughout Michigan since its inception in the Fall of 2007. Michigan CSI presentations include age-appropriate information about safe and responsible Internet use and communicate valuable lessons through discussions about Internet safety videos. The Department of Attorney General is in the process of developing a CSI curriculum to address students in grades 9-12 and plans to launch this program in Fall of 2013.

Schuette noted that Michigan CSI also offers the option of a free community seminar for parents, teachers, and community leaders. The seminar covers the following topics:

1) Accessing the Michigan Sex Offender Registry;
2) The impact of digital footprints;
3) The risk of sharing photos with embedded location information;
4) The dangers and legal ramifications of “sexting”; and,
5) Recognizing the warning signs of cyberbullying and developing a plan of action to combat it.

The Michigan CSI website also includes a community seminar calendar with information about currently scheduled events.