With technology changing by the second, people sometimes have a hard time keeping up, or know how to use it properly or appropriately.
Jesse Miller, an international public speaker on the subject of social media awareness, held a presentation last Monday, Oct. 27 at Boundary Central Secondary School to help both parents and students better understand how social media affects their everyday lives.
There was an afternoon session for West Boundary Grade 6-12 students and an evening session for parents and community members.
“We shouldn’t worry about protecting our children on the Internet,” Miller said. “We should be worried about making sure our children are literate on the Internet. Literacy implies that they have a working knowledge of how things occur online, how their networks are shaped and, at the end of the day, when they are connecting with people, they have to realize not everyone is their friend.
“What they share online can be used as a commodity and [the Internet] is something that can be used as a tool to hurt or a tool that can help lift them up, but they have to realize what that means.”
There can be real life consequences to what you do on the Internet, Miller said. He cited examples such as a potential employer or team coach looking up an online profile and seeing a compromising photo or statement, which might lead to lost opportunities.
Remember the old private photo album of you being a baby in that bathtub? “Online, people and kids want to have others affirm and like them. We put them online and say ‘like the photo of my [child]’. But every aspect of your kids’ life doesn’t have to be digitized and doesn’t have to be put online.”
Miller said the Internet has made us more connected but, at the same time, more disconnected. “It allows us to see things in different ways, lets us check in on people from afar, but the reality is if you have a kid beside you on the couch and you have no idea what they’re doing on their device you are extremely distant from the reality of what they’re doing even though you’re only five feet away.”
Each family has different values and when it comes down to it we have to change how we parent our kids, he added. “The Internet will teach them, but if we can find new ways to bridge the gaps, and make them more aware of the realities of the world, our kids will become more empathetic, more aware, and will become digital learners who will really strive to branch out, and that’s what we should all aim for.”
Parents must insist they have a place in their children’s life—both online and off. They need to know how their kids are doing and how they’re feeling; rather than discover these things on the Internet when it’s too late, Miller advised.
If you want to learn more about Jesse Miller and what he has to say, check out his website, www.mediatedreality.com.