Expert warns students about online dangers


Carol Gudbrandsen, a cyber crimes forensic analyst, addressed the students of Grayslake North about staying safe on the internet and the dangers of cyberbullying.
Although associate principal of student services Megan Licht assures that there was no specific event that prompted this, she believes that internet safety is an especially important topic. “[Cyberbullying] happens more than I’d like to admit,” Licht said. “We need to intervene right away so it doesn’t become an issue. It’s a tough one because we don’t tolerate it, but we can’t intervene if we don’t know.”
Gudbrandsen works with the Lake County Police Department analyzing materials from cyber crimes. According to Gudbrandsen, the most harrowing cases she gets involve minors.
“It is so sad to see a young person have inappropriate videos or images out on the internet because they thought they were talking to that really hot boy or girl, when in fact they were being manipulated by a predator,” Gudbrandsen said.
According to Gudbrandsen, internet safety has large implications on a student’s future.
“High school students are now young adults and can no longer hide under the excuse of ‘I’m just a kid’,” Gudbrandsen said. “The choices high school students make will affect their entire lives. One image can affect their ability to get into a school or get a job.”
Gudbrandsen works with her dog Browser who is trained to search for electronics. Gudbrandsen uses Browser’s skills to find electronics that defendants have tried to hide. Still, Browser is only used after a crime is committed. Gudbrandsen stresses awareness to act as prevention. Social media gives students a sense of anonymity and impermanence; both Licht and Gudbrandsen stress that this is not the case.
“Nothing is private. You think you could delete something, or you think you could erase something or that it goes away in ten seconds, but nothing goes away,” Licht said.