The snowy forecast did not stop Richard Guerry, expert on responsible use of digital media and best-selling author from making a trip to the Gill campus today to speak with students and parents about using technology wisely. The topic is clearly on many people’s minds, as Guerry’s was the best-attended presentation in this parents’ association speaker series.
Guerry spoke in separate sessions throughout the morning to parents, students from the Upper School, and students from the Middle School. He adapted his presentation to the different audiences, but with each he stressed the same message: digital activity is always public and always permanent.
He was quick to point out that social media is not a bad thing. Quite the contrary, Guerry expressed how much he enjoys the new technological innovations and the many benefits they provide. Guerry noted that because having an online presence is still so new, we learn every day how this essentially beneficial technology also has potential liabilities.
Guerry went on to list several of these, referencing how saying or posting negative things on social media can permanently damage someone’s reputation, compromise future initiatives, such as finding a job, or hurt individuals in irreparable ways. Guerry shared specific examples of people posting vacation photos on social media, thereby alerting would-be burglars to their absence. Other people have accidentally uploaded the wrong files in emails or send photos to the wrong recipients.
He finished up his presentation by stressing that social media users should never believe that whatever they post on social platforms can only be viewed by friends or family. In fact, Guerry believes that as speed and convenience increase, people’s privacy will continue to decrease.
“I want to be clear that updating people on your life or social media as a whole is not bad,” Guerry explained. “We just need to be smart about it. Maybe post about your trip after you have safely returned home, or always take a second to double-check what content you are putting out for everyone to see. If we use social media with wisdom, we can use it for our benefit and help educate the next generation of users.”
For more information on responsible use of technology and what to watch out for, visit Guerry’s web site at www.IROC2.org