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Social media education in Canada

Thursday 4 February 2016, by SIGNIS

Kamloops, Brussels, February 4th, 2016 (SIGNIS/Infotel). Social media educator Jesse Miller will soon be coming to Kamloops (Canada) to speak to students and parents about how the internet affects the social lives of young people.

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Jesse Miller

Miller has travelled across Canada to discuss the effects of social media, and one thing he noticed is the similarities in how youth use them anywhere they’re from. He wants to warn students and parents about the risks associated with online communication and about how their online presence could affect multiple elements of their life in the future.

“We have to understand our children become broadcasters. Our kids do get reflected as a brand. If our kids start branding themselves early, it’s not necessarily a negative but they need to be cognizant of it.”

Miller added that social media education isn’t just about the negatives sides associated with the platforms, but that everything has its balance: “I don’t highlight the negatives, I let the students guide the conversation,” he said. “If you understand the technology, if you understand something going viral, it could be a negative, or it could be a positive if it turns you into a YouTube star making revenue.”

As for the parents, Miller’s presentation will look at a variety of aspects, in particular fear. "You can scare them as much as you want to but it’s not going away,” he said. “We didn’t take away parks or Halloween when they got scary. We made (the children) resilient.”

Kamloops RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) has a local program to teach younger students about online risks with school liaison officer Const. Sophie Winkles. “They do social media, cyber bullying and sexting,” Cpl. Cheryl Bush says. “Those are the three main ones.”

Bush said that when social media first became an issue at schools in Kamloops, the education focused on older groups, because that’s who was using it initially. “Going back a number of years, social media were mostly in the high schools but then younger and younger kids were getting cell phones and tablets, so we decided to do more at the elementary schools,” she concluded.

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