As students return to school in Virginia, there’s something new in their curriculum. Virginia is the first state to require public schools to teach Internet safety.
The mandate is in response to concerns about sex offenders and other adults preying on young people they’ve met through social-networking Web sites such as MySpace. It’s one of several steps states are taking to try to protect children and teenagers online.
George Washington High School in Danville, Va., is one of the largest schools in southern Virginia. But there’s one thing almost all of its 1,800 students have in common — MySpace pages.
Gene Fishel, an assistant Virginia attorney general, came to the school auditorium to give a lesson about Internet safety — especially on social-networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Xanga that teenagers often use to communicate, and criminals sometimes use to prowl for victims.