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Cyber Safety Seminars offered by HWRSD

By Debbie Gardner

PRIME Editor

HAMPDEN/WILBRAHAM There are so many things today's parents need to make their children aware of.

They need to prepare children to face such things as "stranger danger," sexual predators, drug abuse and more.

Yet when it comes to helping their children navigate safely through our increasingly technology-driven world, many parents may feel they need a little help.

That's where the Hampden-Wilbraham School District comes in.

In conjunction with Kelly O'Brien, MassMutual Financial Group information security specialist, the regional school district is offering a series of free cyber-safety seminars in October to the parents of students from both towns.

The seminars will be offered in three sessions: Oct. 12 for the parents of students in pre-K through grade four; Oct. 19 for the parents of children in grades five through eight; and Oct. 26 for the parents of children in grades nine through 12.

All three seminars will be hosted in the auditorium at Minnechaug Regional High School from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

"It's a topic of parental concern," said Kate Belsky, executive secretary to Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Gagliarducci, in reference to the seminars. "The superintendent has been involved with District Attorney William Bennet's Cyber Safety Task Force, and we thought the timing was good."

Belsky said highlights of the seminars will include tips on basic Internet safety, web site monitoring, parental controls and how to handle cyberbullying, as well as information on chat rooms, instant messaging and 'Net lingo.

Though the seminars are being presented at no charge, parents are being asked to register in advance. The deadline for the Oct. 12 pre-k-grade 4 seminar is Oct. 5.

Registration forms will be sent home with students, and may be returned by mail or fax.

Parents may also register by e-mail at

For more information about the cyber-safety seminars, contact Andrea Noonan at 596-6045.