“Are you using social media to move your life forward, or will it hold you back?”
This is the question Jesse Miller, of Mediated Reality, posed to students at Fulton and Vernon Secondary schools on Friday. Miller challenged the students to look at the way they use social media and cautioned against oversharing.
Jesse also encouraged everyone in attendance to be an ethical user of the internet. “I hope you are the generation that will make a positive change in how we use our mobile devices,” said Miller. He went on to remind the audience that it’s not just what they post on social media, but comments made while gaming, or apps and photos downloaded or taken on their phone that could lead to issues.
The true impact of how social media can affect one’s life was realized when Jesse shared a story of a 13-year old child who made a comment to another gamer located in the US. Two years later, when the child tried to cross the Canada-US border, the child and family realized he had been flagged as a possible threat, someone to investigate. After being questioned at the border, the child had a 10-year ban on entering the US enforced upon him.
Jesse acknowledged that some form of social media will be around for the long term, and for most people, it can play an important roll in our lives. Some have found it to be a safe place, where they have found groups of acceptance and support that they may not have at home.
For now, to make the change Jesse wishes for the current generation, the important thing to remember and to start practicing now, is working towards life balance. Become an ethical user of the internet and take a step back from your digital device and social media platforms; enjoy being with your friends in the moment, or watch the concert with your eyes, not your phone.
Now there’s something that we can ‘like’ and ‘follow.’