- Our Town
Social media guru returns to Williams Lake
Youth have become broadcasters of information without a lot of understanding of the power that comes with it, social media consultant Jesse Miller said Monday.
Miller will be visiting schools in Williams Lake to talk to students and to give a public evening presentation on Feb. 11.
"I will talk to the kids about the ways they are using social media," Miller said during a media teleconference Monday. "I'm hoping they will grasp that as you build online you can actually use social media for a number of amazing tools to connect with the world, share stories and help shape community development in a positive way."
Unfortunately social media is abused and can start to have a negative impact on communities, as seen recently in the Kamloops school district, or with Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons who both committed suicide, Miller said.
When Miller talks with adults, the message isn't about trying to get ahead of their kids, but about the benefits of the technology and how to engage with their children in a positive way.
"A lot of parents come up and say 'my kids are so good at this' how am I going to keep up?" he said. "It's not about keeping up, it's about being able to reflect on your own life experiences and applying the technology the kids are using today to that life experience."
Parents need to put themselves in their children's shoes and ask if they had the ability to take a picture of themselves or say things negatively about kids they didn't get along with in high school how would they use modern technology, Miller said.
School District 27 superintendent Mark Thiessen said the most intimidating thing for parents is not being able to keep track of everything their kids are doing.
"Is it about having a conversation with your kids and knowing what they are up to, rather than keeping up with them?" he asked.
Miller said parents need to become co-pilots with their kids.
"Parents have to learn to become communicators as it applies to the technology," he said. "The day my daughter takes an interest in a sport that I'm not interested in I should learn as much about that sport so I can nurture my child's engagement. It's like that."
When Miller was in Williams Lake in May 2012, the students were riveted, Lake City secondary principal Gregg Gaylord recalled.
"I've never seen a student assembly so silent and engaged to that extent," he said. "It was his presentation and the nature of what he was talking about because it's so relevant."
The public session will take place at the Williams Lake Campus, Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.