Cowichan Valley Citizen

Speaker to talk cyber bullying, sexting

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Darren Laur is coming to town to talk about cyber-bullying  Photograph by: Lexi Bainas

Dynamic speaker Darren Laur is bringing his powerful cyber safety message to the parents of two Valley schools next week.

The parent advisory councils from Frances Kelsey Secondary and Lake Cowichan School, with the assistance and support of the Cowichan Valley District PAC are backing the presentations by the Victoria Police staff sergeant.

He knows his way around the social media world that includes cyber bullying and sexting and will talk frankly to parents about the dangers of young people sharing too much information on social media sites and making friends with the wrong people.

Brenda Wilson, Kelsey PAC president, said Sunday, "Darren Laur is incredibly powerful. He's coming back because of popular demand from parents and 'the forward- thinking administration' at Kelsey.

"At our school, the administration arranged for him to speak to the students and he was available that night so we said: 'Let's bring him in for the parents as well.' It's a great idea. It was a very powerful message last time.

"For parents, I think his presentation is an eye opener. I'm not in that era of communicating that way myself. I set up a Frances Kelsey page on Facebook and it took me quite a while where a 10-year-old could have come along and done it in a few seconds, probably."

Laur will also talk about the consequences of cyber bullying and poor online decision making.

He also provides parents with invaluable tips on how to go about trying to ensure their children's safety online.

"Darren has been very involved. He has his own company, too, Personal Protection Systems. He has different programs for educators, for businesses, for parents, for seniors and for schools but he concentrates on cyber bullying and making parents aware of what's happening with kids on the Internet," said Wilson.

Visit personalprotectionsystems.ca to see Laur in a short video about teens and the internet.

"I remember from two years ago when he mentioned that from the information available in a used car ad in Victoria he was able to go into the young girl's place of work and say to her: you live on such and such a street, you're selling this car and this is where you work," she said. "All done within a few minutes.

"There's a real explosion now with young kids sexting and taking nude photos of themselves and putting them on the internet, too, and once you push that button into cyberspace, it's there and there's no getting it back."

Belinda Waller, PAC chair at Lake Cowichan School, is looking forward to seeing Laur. "I missed him last year because I had a PAC meeting to go to at Palsson but my husband came home and couldn't stop talking about it," she said.

Although Laur will be speaking to the Kelsey student body as well, the event at Lake Cowichan is geared just for parents.

"Darren came last year and did a middle school presentation and then one geared to the high school and then one for the parents. Unfortunately there wasn't a high turnout for the parents but it sounded so informative that we thought we'd bring it back to offer it to those who missed it," Waller said.

"Even the parents of the younger ones who are coming up can come and see this and get a good idea of what it's all about," she said.

The first presentation will be held at Lake Cowichan School, on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. The second event will be held at Frances Kelsey Secondary on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend the presentations but the PACs are encouraging those who plan to go to first register at www.eventbrite.ca

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