“It only takes one second to put yourself up, but you can never take yourself down” – by Carol. This blog post is being written after having guest speaker Carol Todd in our ECMP class.
Carol Todd is a strong woman in my eyes. Her demeanor and attitudes after what happened to her and her family is positive and inspiring. I am very grateful to have had her speak to me (and us) to share some information about the case, but also what we need to be doing as educators to help prevent sextortion and innocent people being victimized. Watch the video below to learn more about sextortion and how it can be prevented.
Carol Todd’s words were very important for teachers to listen to. In the next couple paragraphs I am going to share some of her words that stuck out to me most. Close to the beginning of her visit Carol shares that there would be a lot more she would tell her daughter about online if she could go back. Later on she goes on to say that parents (and teachers) cannot be afraid to talk to young people about what can happen online, what goes on in their lives, sex education, and about mental health. She states that we need to normalize these conversations so these young people are more likely to share with us if something is going wrong. I agree with Carol and see the importance of talking with young people and letting them know that they will not get in trouble if they share what is going on. In addition, we need to educate young people on the severity of some topics such as sextortion and have them informed about what they can do in various situations online.
There is one more point I want to touch on from Carol’s presentation. Carol said in her presentation that there is no such words as “get offline” anymore. This relates to the way some people out there think about cases where young people are online and face sextortion or other bad situations. Some people think that if a person simply goes offline they will have no problems left and can live a regular life. I think this is false because what is online cannot be erased and others around you still see it and comment on it. Also, I find that being online can be addicting to some people so to say to them to go offline is troubling. In addition, it seems like everyone is online today so how is one supposed to stop going on? Instead of telling people to stay offline we need to educate (young people in particular) about how to be respectful online, how to be safe, awareness of who is out there online, and most importantly- how to have empathy for others (important in real life as well). After Carol’s presentation I recognize the need for educating my students about online, more than ever before.
The last thing I want to talk about is the documentary I watched about Amanda Todd from the fifth estate. Below is the documentary I will be talking about. Watch if you are seeking to learn more information about the story of Amanda Todd (Carol Todd’s daughter) and what the Todd family has been through.
In watching this documentary I pulled a couple significant points that have made me think a little differently about my role as an educator. In the documentary they share that the internet serves as another audience for people to become known and popular on. Some people (including students) can become transfixed by the image on the computer screen and have a different version of themselves online. This is problematic because people then do not realize what they are doing because they just want the attention that people are offering them on various sites. As an educator I need to teach young people to not get fixated on online attention and to make safe choices about what they should be sharing. Teachers need to help protect students, rather than having a deadly silence by not talking to them about the internet at all.
In the documentary they state that there are many other victims out there today. Unfortunately, it is very hard to stop online predators. However, we can work to educate our young people and provide support to them. I want to finish this post by sharing a resource from the documentary- Cybertip.ca. This site is where people can report online abuse. Please share this report form with your students, parents, and anyone else online. It may stop a bully or even save a life. Let’s empower the right people.
Thanks for reading.