Final session to School Parents for 2020/21 & the early days of Social Media,
Just finished an Internet Safety workshop to the parents of Scoil Shéamais Naofa Bearna. Thanks to príomhoide Máire Báicéir for the opportunity.
It is my final session for parents for 2020/21.
The early days of Social Media (2004-2009).
When I started Cyberbullying Awareness activities for parents, youth and teachers in 2005 I was one of the first to do so.
Online social media was in its infancy with Orkut, Myspace and Bebo probably being the big three in this domain. Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat had yet to be invented.
'Blogging' (blogspot) was very popular, allowing ordinary non-techies to create their own website for the first time.
There was an innocent then about our use of the web. We passionately believed in the power of online SOCIAL media as a force for good and for sharing stories and images between old friends from the real world and new found friends from the world of the World Wide Web.
I use to give a range of workshops on setting up websites, via a blog, and a personal social media account, via Orkut etc, to ethic minorities (e.g. Brazilians in Gort and the residents of the Eglinton asylum seekers accommodation centre), businesses, community groups, schools, politicians (including a young city councillor by the name of Niall O Brolchain!). For the vast majority of participants from across all sectors, it was their first time to have an online presence.
The Nastiness was there.
But sadly even then the nastiness and cyber bullying had started. Online harassment campaigns, stalking and misogyny were all there with the sexual abuse of young teenage females being to the fore.
It does not have to be like this!
I remember well the government promising in those early days to clamp down on online nastiness and bring the culprits to task with the promise of new legislation and the establishment of a digital safety office. In spite of many requests and many promises, I am still waiting for this to happen.