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Clearwater cybersafety group teams up with Garfield to protect Tampa Bay area kids

40% of students talked to strangers online
cyber security Garfield
Posted at 3:42 AM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 06:57:36-04

SEFFNER, Fla. — The third-graders at Seffner Elementary are getting smart about Internet safety.

And they can thank a famous cartoon cat for that.

Clearwater’s Center for Cyber Safety and Education teamed with Garfield creator Jim Davis to create a program protecting grade-schoolers from Internet dangers.

“Elementary-school kids, 40 percent of them, have already chatted with a stranger online,” says the nonprofit’s director Pat Craven.

Teaming up with Davis and Garfield allows the local group to push their program worldwide.

In Seffner, the students watch a video of Garfield and his furry pals, some of whom aren’t too careful about how they act on the Internet.

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Kids also get an educational (but fun) comic book and a protective sticker to put over laptop cameras.

The school’s media specialist Sara Mounce says third-grade is the perfect age to start educating kids about cyber perils.

“They are all online,” says Mounce. “The sooner you start it, the more they hear it, the more they’re going to remember it and do it.”