Students and parents learn about technology risks

NEW ULM – The digital age is wonderful time to grow up. Exciting new technologies are available to students that never existed for their parents. However, access to new technology and to the Internet brings new risks.

Dave Eisenmann, director of Instructional Technology & Media Services at Minnetonka Public Schools, held two presentation on Wednesday, at the Cathedral High School gym. Eisenmann has been educating the public on technology and safety issues for the past five years. The first presentation was designed to teach high school students on how to be good digital citizens.

Eisenmann focused on four specific areas – cyber bullying, inappropriate material, privacy and digital footprint.

During the presentation Eisenmann prompted students to use cellphones to text answers to an online poll, which gave answers in real time. Roughly 50 percent of the CHS students responded that they had been the victim of cyber bullying. Another poll showed that nearly 90 percent of students had regretted posting something online. Students were advised that the best policy for posting online was to follow the Golden Rule: “Do on to others as you would have done on to you.”

Eisenmann repeatedly reminded students that once information is put online – it is there for life and might someday be used for different purposes that could cause future problems.

In some cases students have been expelled and even charged with felonies due to a single inappropriate post. Even sites designed to only store data temporarily, like Snapchat, have loopholes that allow permanent saving. Even websites created 20 years ago were still available through archive sites, Eisenmann said.

In addition, the Library of Congress recently began archiving Tweets. “Your great-grandkids will be able to see what you’ve posted,” said Eisenmann to emphasize the point.

At the close of the presentation Eisenmann gave the students an assignment to clean up their digital footprint. Students were advised to take down any information or posts that “grandmother would not want to see” and to remain careful in the future.

A second presentation was scheduled at night for parents seeking advice on how to protect their children. Eisenmann said that his presentation for parents was different because he explains the technology before talking of safe guards.

Parents looking for tips for raising good digital citizens are directed to the website: tinyurl.com/cyberresources for further information including filtering content and setting Internet guidelines.

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