AMORY, Miss. (WCBI) – Amory Middle School Students are spent an hour learning about a subject that affects everyone.
“I’m here to basically give the students a guideline on how to be responsible with technology to help them understand that what they’re using are very powerful tools and they’re tools that connect them to a billion people,” said Richard Guerry.
He is founder of the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell Phone Communication, or IROC2. He uses a mix of video, web site screen shots, and newspaper articles of teenagers charged with child porn for texting nude photos of themselves and a drug dealer who was arrested after accidentally texting a police officer.
He gives the students what he calls the Golden Rule of the 21st Century.
“Our whole message is, are you ok with what you’re about to do being public and permanent,” Guerry said.
Guerry also talks about cyber bullying, reminding audiences that victims are the ones empowered.
“A victim is never going to lose anything they’re not going to lose a job, scholarship, look bad to their friends , family or community. We want bullies to know, when you’re about to be cruel to someone , you’re not only being cruel to them but you’re being cruel in front of a billion people and you’re giving that person you’re being cruel to digital proof they can use against you to make your life difficult,” he points out.
Many of the students we spoke said cyber bullying has hit close to home. Austin Meaders knows family and friends who have been victims of online bullies.
“First started out they talked about him at school, got into an argument, went public and online, they said a lot of bad stuff about him, like he’s ugly, the kind of clothes he wears, then, it went on from there,” Meaders said.
Middle Schoolers said the presentation will help them have a better understanding of digital technology.
“It stays online forever, it never goes away, even if you think you delete it’s still there,” said 8th grader Amber Kelly.
Guerry’s non profit organization stays busy booking presentations for schools and other civic groups. Wherever he speaks his message is basically the same, a little common sense when it comes to technology can save a lot of trouble and heartache in the future.
For more information, go to www.iroc2.org