W-O hosts Facebook safety workshops for parents and students

Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School will host a pair of workshops Nov. 22 to educate students and parents about safe and appropriate use of online social media.

The high school has invited Chris Vollum, a Facebook and Twitter expert, to give his “Facebook 101” presentation. Vollum will talk about how to understand privacy settings, monitor friend lists, and keep personal data secure.

“We were aware that there were some issues around students and what I’ll call the appropriate and inappropriate use of social media,” said W-O principal Ed Doadt.

“Kids are using social media much more than they were before. We want to teach them how to use it in a responsible way.”

There will be an afternoon session for students, followed by a free parents’ workshop at 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. The evening event is open to the public, with no registration needed. The school’s parent council is sponsoring the workshop.

With the growth of popular networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, personal lives – especially young people’s – are increasingly available on the internet. But teenagers may not be aware of how a careless photo or comment can damage their real-life reputation and haunt job prospects in the future. The workshop will help them stay safe while still getting the most out of social media sites.

The workshop will also be useful for parents who don’t use sites like Facebook and may not understand how they work, Doadt said.

Starting this fall, the Waterloo Region District School Board has allowed Facebook access on its high school computers.

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