MICDS students in grades 3-12, faculty, staff and parents learned from the expertise of Richard Guerry, author, international public speaker and executive director of The Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication (IROC2).
Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Guerry worked as an executive in the information technology field. During his tenure, he encountered the darkest areas of the internet and discovered countless individuals unknowingly being manipulated and schemed, and their content being stolen and exploited. In 2009, Richard left corporate America, and applied his vast experience and knowledge of digital safety to serve as the Executive Director of IROC2.org.
Mr. Guerry described digital devices as “the most powerful tools in existence.” The problem, he continued is “we gave everyone on the planet the keys to the car but forgot to tell everyone how to drive. My goal is to help everyone learn how to drive technology.”
His presentation, “Public and Permanent: Motivate Responsible Use of Technology and Prevent Digital Abuse,” covered the following topics:
- The latest digital tools and apps that students of different ages are using
- The risks involved with these tools/apps
- Do some apps really make pictures and information “disappear”?
- The risks for children as they begin to navigate the online and social media worlds
- How parents or educators can prevent or respond to inappropriate photos or videos; irresponsible use of apps; cyberbullying and poor social media behaviors.
Key points from Mr. Guerry’s remarks included:
- The Golden Rule of the 21st Century is that digital activity is public and permanent.
- The idea of being anonymous online is myth. No one is anonymous online.
- If you wouldn’t say something to a stranger on the street, do not say it online.
- Identities are stolen every two seconds.
- Social media and message boards are breeding grounds for viruses and spyware.
- Before you post something to social media, ask yourself if you would put this on the front page of your local paper.
In 2010 his program received the School Safety Advocacy Council’s “Exemplary School Safety Program” Award. In 2011, he was awarded the School Safety Advocacy Council’s “Exemplary School Safety Initiative” Award.
Mr. Guerry is also the author of multiple cyber safety and citizenship books, and has been a featured speaker at many national conferences and conventions, including the National Conference on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention, the International Bullying Prevention Association, and the National Symposium on Child Abuse. He has also appeared as a digital safety expert on various media outlets like CNN, Radio Disney, MTV, Parade Magazine and many other local, regional, and international networks and publications.
Parents: in case you missed Mr. Guerry’s presentation, click here for helpful resources.