Thursday, February 6, 2014

Social Media, Cyberbullying and Teens

This afternoon, I had the privilege of giving a presentation on social media, cyberbullying and teens at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy in Minturn, Colorado. The school, near Vail Ski Resort, has about 175 students in 5th-12th grades. The students are elite athletes training for professional competition and careers in skiing and snowboarding.  Before meeting the students, we were given a guided tour of the school. What a wonderful facility! And, I must say the view from every window was breath-taking.

Today's presentation was organized by the school's counseling office at the request of some of the middle school students who wanted more in-depth discussions about social media. There were three parts. Part I, presented by a local company called Mobloggy, discussed "branding" issues and how to create a social media presence that will create a positive brand for each athlete; a brand that sponsors will find desirable and appealing and enhances the athlete's overall possibility for a successful future in their chosen sport. Part II was my presentation, discussing positive responsible use of social media and how to handle cyberbullying. Part III was given by the Eagle County Sheriff's office and offered lots of information about the legal implications of irresponsible social media use and inappropriate photo sharing, with special emphasis on "sexting" and it's legal ramifications with regards to child pornography. It was very sobering and I hope it will help the kids think twice before sharing anything inappropriate online.

We did a separate presentation for the 7-12 graders and the 5th and 6th graders.  The 7th-12th grade group was the larger of the two. The kids really seemed interested and engaged. The second, for the 5th and 6th graders, was a relatively lighter version of the first. The information about sexting was omitted because it was deemed too graphic for kids this young. The younger kids really seemed to enjoy my part of the talk. They made lots of great comments and asked lots of good questions. Their openness and enthusiasm was really refreshing and made interacting with these students a lot of fun!

I hope the students and staff at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy found all of today's presentations educational and thought provoking. I can say it was certainly worth taking the afternoon off and driving out to Minturn for!

Here are copies of the powerpoint slides I created for my presentation today:

Copyright Jill Squyres PhD. 
Not to be used or copied without permission from the author