top story Former engineer helps students stay safe online email@example.com Oct 11, 2013 (…) Meridian Police Officer Dave Gomez uses his 14 years of experience in the engineering field to now help students make good decisions on social media. He periodically gives presentations about the dangers of social media, including this presentation to a group of Lewis and Clark Middle School sixth-graders Oct. 2, 2013. Holly Beech/MP Last week, dozens of sixth-graders at Lewis and Clark Middle School laughed, gasped and listened intently as School Resource Officer Dave Gomez gave a presentation about the dangers of social media.He asked the group of primarily 11-year-olds how many had cellphones. Most raised their hands. A handful said they have Facebook, and most of the students indicated that they have a social media account of some kind.Gomez’ advice? Don’t use social media until you’re 16. But if you do, follow some guidelines — such as having no more than 200 Facebook friends — to protect yourself from cyber bullying and predators. × Advertisement “Internet bullying is probably one of the biggest issues we have — above drugs, above everything,” Gomez said. Cyber bullying occurs when one person continually harasses another person online.The second biggest problem — one that most people probably aren’t fully aware of, he said — is students sending naked photos of themselves to other students.Gomez hopes to help students protect themselves. One of his methods is running four fake Facebook accounts. One account, for example, appears to belong to a 13-year-old girl. Thousands of students across the district have “friended” him on these accounts — breaking Gomez’ other guideline of never adding a Facebook friend you don’t personally know.“I tell them everyday, I say, ‘Look, I am on your friends list. Delete me!’” Gomez said. “… They don’t know which one I am.”He tells students their decisions matter now — not starting when they’re 18 and officially adults, but right now as middle-schoolers.Parents also have a huge responsibility, Gomez said, to protect students online.“If you’re going to let them on where there’s predators and everything, (parents’) delete and block finger better be pretty good,” he said.Even when students do make bad decisions, Gomez assures them he’s on their side.“What I tell them — every person that comes in here, whether they’re in trouble or they’re not — is, ‘Look, I’m on your team ... I’m going to be straight up with you. I’m not going to berate you, judge you or anything, I’m on your team. And even if you’re in trouble, I’m the best person to be here for you,’” Gomez said. More from this section Dedication ceremony is Sunday for new Catholic school in Meridian Posted: July 26, 2017 Criner steps down as football coach at Rocky Mountain for admin role at Eagle Posted: July 26, 2017 Military families invited to sign up for free school supplies from Operation Homefront Posted: July 24, 2017 Parent dismisses class fee lawsuit against West Ada Posted: July 12, 2017 Meridian, West Ada reach $423K school resource officer contract Posted: July 11, 2017 Tags Facebook Social Issues Education Dave Gomez Cyberbullying Clark Middle School Social Media Engineer Comments Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK. Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything. Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person. Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts. Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. Latest E-Edition Meridian Press Read the latest edition of the Meridian Press in our e-edition format, which combines the familiarity of the printed-paper format with the convenience of reading on your phone, tablet or desktop computer from anywhere. Issues prior to August 18, 2016 YouReport This is your chance to be the reporter. Tell us what's going on with you, your kids, and your community. Share your child's latest achievements, talk about that pothole that never gets fixed, or just speak your mind on what is happening in your community. Submit Your Articles Share the news that is important to you and your community. Post articles about local events, sports teams, community organizations, and more! Submit Your Photos Do you have a great local photo that you want to share with the world? Add it here!