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Hoeven, school officials, Google talk online safety with North Dakota students

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FARGO, N.D. - Senator John Hoeven Tuesday joined Ben Franklin Middle School students and school officials, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and Google representatives to lead a program designed to educate students, educators and parents on ways to stay safe and secure when using the Internet. The Google-sponsored Online Safety Roadshow is part of the company's national online Good to Know initiative created to better educate middle school aged students about web use.

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"The Internet has opened our access to the world in exciting and unprecedented ways," Hoeven said. "This is a good thing, enabling Americans - and especially our students - to become more informed and better educated. While increased access to the web is important and beneficial, we have a responsibility to make sure students have the knowledge needed to use the Internet in a safe way. Programs like Google's Roadshow serve as valuable resources to help students get the most out of online resources while staying out of danger."

The presentation focused on helping students better understand what actions they can take to stay safe and secure when using the web. The program featured five key steps Google believes ensure students become better aware of potential perils associated with Internet use: think before you share; protect your stuff; know and use your settings; avoid scams and be positive. The presentation featured interactive games and student testimonials.

Google designed this program in conjunction with principals and child safety groups, including the National Association of Secondary School Principals and iKeepSafe, focusing on the prevalent use of the Internet among young students who use the web for both personal and school work. An estimated 93 percent of teenagers between the age of 12 and 17 go online, often without adult supervision.

The program is the first of its kind to be held in North Dakota. Hoeven will lead a second program Wednesday at Wachter Middle School in Bismarck.

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