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Richard Guerry Takes the Stage

Sydney Spector

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[ot-caption title=”Richard Guerry spoke to the students about internet safety” (Sophmore/Sydney Spector)”]

Last Monday, our school had the chance to welcome Richard Guerry, a public speaker on internet safety. Guerry originally worked for internet marketing companies, such as Web ID Marketing and SureClick Promotions. After witnessing the dangers of the internet firsthand, he began teaching those around him how to be safe online. Guerry eventually left his corporate job and helped found the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication, or IROC2. He now tours the country giving lectures at schools on internet safety.

Guerry’s main points at Monday’s assembly included two phrases. The first, Public and Permanent, refers to everything online. He warned against sending or posting anything that you would not want your future employer or principal seeing. He explained that there is no real way to delete content from the web, and noted that there are many programs that can find it again.

His second mantra was Promise or Pitfall. With every generation of new technology, there are stories of success and stories of failure. He encouraged us to be the success stories of social media. However, there are already experiences of other people that can serve as warnings to us now. Guerry recited multiple news articles of information landing in the wrong hands. Whether it hurt the person sending or receiving, the outcome was horrible and could have been easily avoided. 

Guerry also spoke of the repercussions of insulting someone online. Often, we can never be positive about what another person may be going through, or how a comment may affect them. Many people will bully over the internet because they feel like they can hide behind a screen or be anonymous. However, no app or website entirely protects your identity. For any social outlet, there are dozens of hacker websites, and if approached by the right people, the actual company will give all of your information, too. Besides hurting the other person, one disrespectful or derogatory comment could ruin someone’s entire reputation. College scholarships and job offers have been revoked once the prospective person’s Twitter or Instagram was found. Guerry emphasized the fact that everything said online is traceable, whether privacy settings are on or not. 

All in all, the lecture was helpful and interesting. It brought to light the parts of social media that most people would rather ignore. Some of Richard Guerry’s tips and warnings could save someone’s future. 

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Richard Guerry Takes the Stage