The Reality of Life Online

jesse_miller

We hosted Jesse Miller of Mediated Reality this week, and he spoke to students, parents and staff about the illusion many people have of anonymity and privacy online. Jesse shared a few stories from his time with the Vancouver Police Department and how much information can be found by accessing Instagram, ask.fm or other social media accounts. He stressed that the important thing was to use these networks carefully and responsibly and to understand that if an account is free, the company is likely making money from the data shared with them.

by Jonathan, Grade 9

On Monday morning, an internationally renowned public speaker arrived on the doorstep of SMUS to talk to us about social media. More specifically, the trail left behind from our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. It was quite an interesting presentation, depicting what might happen in our future when we are applying for a job and how our future employers can see our social media accounts.

Although, to me, most of what he said has been said to me before. In the past couple of years, I have succumbed to scores of presenters with similar messages. I will admit that Mr. Miller did do a fantastic job in captivating the audience and keeping the presentation upbeat and entertaining. This doesn’t change that fact that we’ve all heard this before. I feel like — which ironically Jesse mentions in his talk — that since all of these mediums for online predation have come across in such a short time frame, laws and education strategies have lagged behind. The education system is still focusing on “stranger danger”, which is lost to the tech world, as most of my friends have friends of Facebook that they don’t know! Subsequently, this has lead to an overload of talks on this theme to our generation, in an attempt to recover what has been missed.

But, in more ways than one it is lost, as most of us are violating the rules discussed. Our brains almost require the dopamine that our brain releases when we post a selfie and get bombarded with likes. In sum, all the presentations we are receiving are good to a point, but I don’t think that they will change many of my peers. I would focus more on younger students in our school, and maybe even restrict certain social media platforms in the school.

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