Last week I was asked to give a talk to our high school students about CyberSafety. A yearly talk to remind them about the Internet and their responsibility on it….or that’s how I view it anyway. 

I was given 5 minutes at an assembly….5 minutes to cover the whole topic of CyberSafety. So the question became how do I make an impact in 5 minutes?

I decided that the best way to present what I wanted to say was to do a Pecha-Kucha. First, when given such a short time frame I wanted to make sure I didn’t get off track, go down a rabbit hole of my own thinking and never make the point. The structure of the Pecha-Kucha with slides pre-timed at 20 seconds per slide would force me to stick to the message. Secondly, Pecha-Kucha as a presentation style has been catching on in our high school ever since I did one for a staff meeting. Many of our students have had to give Pecha-Kuchas this year and seeing that it was me that brought this loved/hated presentation style to the kids it was only fair that I play by the same rules (Plus I hoped that showing them a good example would help them in their own presentations in the future).

Talking about CyberSafety to high school students is a topic I always find difficult. It’s there world you’re talking about . How do you tell them about their world? You can scare them with stories, you can overwhelm them with statistics, or you can ask them to take control. This year I would ask them to take control.

First I knew I needed to establish a connection with them so my opening slide was this: 

Google Resume

Just the slide on the screen had the kids clapping, cheering and laughing. I quickly told them that even though LOL and OMG are now official words that they should still check with their English Teachers before using them in their next essay. But the laughter and cheering was the connection, I had an emotional response that now I could play on. My next slide was about CyberSafety…that’s it one slide.

Google Resume

I simple said “Be Safe and know that everything is Public….does anyone have any questions?” They again laughed and rightfully so…they’ve heard this for years now. To make a point that there is no privacy on the Internet I used Credit Card companies that for years now do not charge you for anything purchased on a stolen card. They eat billions of dollars every year in stolen credit card numbers, yet they are willing to take that risk so that you the customer can have the ease of purchasing online…..assume it’s public…assume it’s going to happen eventually.

I then talked about some stats to frame the rest of my talk. 2 Billion Interent users 500 Million+ on Facebook or in other words 25% of all Internet users are on Facebook (that silenced the crown…again an emotional fact I don’t think they realized). I talked about text messaging and displayed this made up graph of the correlation between bathroom breaks and text messaging at our school. Again the kids laughed (emotional response).

Google Resume

All of this in 80 seconds (4 slides) to frame my real message of the day. That with all this information out there you need to learn to control it and use it. So I framed the rest of my talk about building your Google Resume. We all use Google to look up everything, even people we meet. Employees and Universities do the same, Google in many cases is your first resume and the paper copy that you hand in is really your second. So how to do you use the power of Google to build your resume?

I talked about using their blogs as a place to tell the world who they are and want to be. I talked about leaving comments on other blogs around the world. I talked about submitting articles to high profile blogs or online sites including our own In The Mix which has had over 70,000 views since it started last August. A site started just for this purpose…to promote great student writing. 

I talked about being active on the web, that every one of them should have a Facebook account as you have to be there to control the information, to use it to your advantage seeing that 80% of Universities now use Facebook and other social networks to find information on you.

I ended with this simple slide. Be Safe, Be Active, Take Control. I do believe those are the keys to being safe on the web…no matter your age. 

There’s been a lot of talk about my presentation since…..even teachers Googling themselves and asking how do they build their Google Resume. A couple students have submitted writings to In The Mix and today after school I’m doing a sessoin of Resume building that the counselors asked me to run for seniors. 5 minutes to make an impact and it seems to have worked in the short term anyway. We’ll see where this leads as we prepare for next year.