When the walls disappear…

Just recently, Officer Douglas from the Toronto Police delivered a timely talk to our middle school students about social media – the predominant tool being Facebook – where you post and share messages and images.  An interesting fact quickly spreading is that Facebook collects and owns all of the information you post.

Digital ToolsWhen you read and/or post online, you are usually in a safe place: your classroom, office, kitchen, living room, bedroom or the passenger seat of a car. You are usually using your own laptop or smartphone. The setting is one of comfort and security. There are physical walls around you to keep out harm; there are firewalls around your electronic device to keep out intruders. In this comfort zone, you are more likely to submit personal information about yourself (or others) online. However, as soon as you press ‘send,post or submit’, these walls disappear. Poof!

The images and/or words that you just transmitted entered cyberspace where there are no walls, where anyone and everyone can see and hear everything that is online, including the police. Even if you delete it, it’s too late; a copy was made the instant you pressed ‘send, post or submit’.

So before the ‘walls disappear’, think twice about what you post. Will you be worried about the images you‘re uploading? Will you be worried about the text that you‘re about to put out there? If yes, hit delete.

Stacy Marcynuk
Director of IT, Curriculum
Kingsway College School

Blurring the Online Boundary

Parenting and online safetyIf you’ve heard of the ‘information highway’ you’ll know that social media is taking over much of this traffic. If you’ve heard of ‘surfing the web’, you’ve just dated yourself. Students just refer to the web as ‘being online’.

As students begin joining social media at a younger age, the online boundary shifts just a little more. When does it stop? What can we do? Does it need to stop?

Social media is ubiquitous in today’s society and can play a fantastic role in a child’s development. Be an active part of this and let your child share with you what is happening on Facebook or Club Penguin. Have frequent open discussions about the various types of comments posted by users on Grooveshark or YouTube. These are but a few popular social media apps that our children frequently visit. Share your favourite social media apps, comments, tweets or conundrums. It’s okay to let our kids know that we’re fallible and that we also enjoy social media, albeit different social media apps. And of course, within these wonderful conversations, build in talks about privacy settings, risks, consequences and ‘your rules’.  Be strong, yet gentle.

As your child grows older, the boundary will blur and morph. Let it be a natural, agreeable transition. Good luck!

Stacy Marcynuk
Director of IT, Curriculum
Kingsway College School

Some great online safety resources: