Brentwood College 2013

< Fall Sports Captains

Tue October 08 09:58 AM

Deciphering Cyberbullying

With the technology available to us, the risks when using that technology increase everyday. The problem is that most young people don’t know the risks and are putting themselves in harm’s way by not knowing the facts.

With that in mind, a Staff Sergeant with the Victoria Police Department, Mr. Darren Laur, and his wife, Beth Laur, are taking safety into their own hands. Their family started a company called Personal Protection Systems Inc. It is “dedicated to teaching Internet and Social Media Safety, violence prevention, safety awareness and self protection strategies to men, women, children, schools, businesses, corporations, law enforcement and government.”

In Darren’s job, one of his incredibly hard duties is to tell parents that their child has killed themselves. He knows how sickening it is for parents to hear and what kinds of horrible things today’s youth can be exposed to. Their company literally saves lives.

Last week, Darren and Beth presented to all of the new students at Brentwood. He shared stories about misuse of the Internet and many social media sites. Many students cried when very emotional stories were shared. The duo definitely got their message across with a very direct technique - treating the audience as young adults, instead of as children. Everyone listened intently, scared of what has happened to young people, but glad to know there were still things they could do.

What is not commonly known is that there are so many ways of being targeted online: cyber bullying, viruses, phishing, scamming, malware, and others. So many young people don’t think of the consequences of their online actions. It was shocking for many to learn how easy it is for online hackers to gain anybody’s personal information.

A particularly sensitive topic was cyber bullying and what it can lead to. Darren presented some videos and had many stories to tell about how bad bullying can get. It was surprising how many young people can relate to what Darren was saying either by having been bullied or knowing someone who has been a victim. The amount of publicity in the last year on the effects of bullying - such as suicide - should have deterred people from doing it, but as everyone learned, it hasn’t.

Unfortunately, about 70% of youth are bullied online at some point. That rate is too high, but because of people like the Laur family, the message of stopping cyber bullying and being more cyber safe is being heard. It needs to be a global effort though, no one person is going to make everyone cyber safe, but together we can make a difference.

Emma H, Mackenzie ‘15

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