We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This guideline for human behavior has been with mankind for millennia.
This behavioral rule has received an update. The “new” Golden Rule for the 21st Century is this – Digital activity is both public and permanent.
Richard Guerry informed a group gathered in the Central Lafourche High School auditorium on Thursday night as to how and why the new mantra came into existence and why it replaces the old one.
Guerry is founder of the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication, or IROC2 for short. He has given his two-hour presentation numerous times across the United States and Canada, nearly 2,000 over the past four years and the reasons are apparent.
“You have to become a victim first to become aware of the problems,” Guerry says. “We don’t want to say ‘don’t use the technology,’ we need to say ‘use the technology responsibly,’” he adds. “How we use the tool determines the outcome. We want people to use the technology responsibly.”
According to Guerry, the content we create was never intended to be private, no matter the claims Web sites or apps make.
“We have to be OK with creating content that we don’t mind becoming public or permanent,” he says. “We will never know every tool and every app out there,” he said. “We need to know the guidelines for keeping us safe.”
Guerry demonstrated ways to prevent and avoid harmful digital and online behaviors such as sexting, cyber bullying, digital blackmail and exploitation.
Think about this – a cell phone is stolen or hacked every two seconds and a person’s identity is stolen every three seconds according to Guerry.
“Our 21st Century devices were never intended for privacy,” he says.
Every one of today’s devices, whether it be a cell phone, laptop, tablet or even a smart TV are all designed for instant communication.
“The devices we use everyday allow us to talk, know, show and say anything instantly,” he added. “Every move forward with technology, a newer version of our phone, a newer tablet … is all designed to make humans share communications and information faster, easier and better.”
The presentation was a joint partnership between Guerry’s company, IROC2, Vision Communications and the Lafourche Parish Schools.
“As a member of the communities we serve, we strongly believe that it is part of our responsibility to do what we can to protect the families in them,” said Toby DuBois, Vision Communications’ Chief Marketing Officer. “At this free seminar students, parents, grandparents and teachers can all learn how to avoid the digital pitfalls that too many young people are falling into in today’s digitally connected world.”
The problems associated with online safety and using technology responsibly are very real. Proactive steps are being taken right here in our parish to combat this worldwide problem. The Lafourche Parish School Board has an upcoming policy that will include ‘Digital Citizenship’ training as part of the mandatory curriculum. It will be implemented in all of the parish’s schools from elementary to high school. They are finalizing the details of the number of hours of instruction that’s mandated for all students.
Guerry tells that technology and its use shouldn’t be something that we abandon in our new, 21st Century reality.
“Public and permanent isn’t a scary or bad thing,” he says. “It’s a positive!”
Nothing created digitally, no matter what, exists somewhere and is almost always permanently.
“Once we create something digitally, there’s always a way to pull it back,” he said. And, it’s not just limited to what we see in the movies, TV or something limited to law enforcement.
“Software exists that we in the private sector can purchase to find photos, texts, tweets and even browser history on our devices,” he added.
This is a great thing especially if you accidentally delete your family vacation photos. People automatically get nervous because they think of inappropriate content they may have on their devices.
“Remember, we have no anonymity online,” he says. “We think social media and privacy settings, social and private are opposites. Why do we expect privacy in social media?”
To learn more about relevant news and Web sites, digital citizenship information and to view informational videos on how you can stay safe online, visit publicandpermanent.com or IROC2.org.
Posted on Fri, September 12, 2014
by Marc C. Kimball Contributing Writer