A good friend of ours who is a high school teacher called us up last week and said, "This guy came and gave a two-hour presentation to the kids at the school today about internet safety and online protection and he was amazing. He had their attention for the whole time, you could hear a pin drop, and the students were just hanging on his every word. He's doing a presentation for the parents tonight and you NEED to go see him. He's phenomenal."
My husband had plans that night with our daughter so he couldn't go. And I didn't want to go. I'd had a busy work week and just wanted to put the kids to bed, have a glass of wine and let the Netflix wash over me. But he was insistent. "It sounds really good. I called my mom and she can babysit the kids. You're going."
So, I hopped in the car, drove to the local community theatre and took a seat. The people began to trickle in and then Darren Laur took to the stage.
He introduced himself, told us about how he has been with the Victoria City Police for 27 years and has a passion for keeping kids safe online. I can't even begin to touch on all the information he gave us, but he did it in such a way that after listening to him for two and-half hours, it felt like he'd only been talking for 20 minutes.
Please take a few minutes and check him out here:
The word about Darren Laur needs to spread. Check out his website, and then tell your school that they need to have him come and do a presentation for your students. Our kids are facing an online landscape unlike any other and Darren speaks to them in their language about how to be responsible digital citizens (aka: if you send a photo of your boobs to your boyfriend-of-the-week, chances are that when you break up three days later, he's going to forward that image of your ta-tas to the whole school) and give them the know-how to use the internet wisely. He actually has a Facebook page of a supposed 16 year-old girl and in the days before he presented to the high school students, he was creeping their Facebook pages as her and had managed to get close to 100 of them accept his Friend Request, had texted with them as her, and even set up a date with one of the kids. How's that for eye-opening?! He sure snagged their attention with that and made them realize just how easy it can be for people to be something they're not online.
I was shocked to hear that the hours of highest social media usage in teens is between 10:00 pm and 3 o'clock am. They are taking their phones to bed with them and texting, tweeting, surfing the night away, then wake up feeling like junk the next morning because they haven't had any sleep. Crazy. Darren is a huge proponent of the internet and acknowledges just how cool it is and how it allows us and our kids to connect, share creativity, and explore. He doesn't have an Anti-Internet message, rather a deep understanding of how we and our kids need to develop a responsible attitude towards our online behavior.
Darren has a gift and it needs to be shared. I am going to make sure I do all I can do to get him to come back to our town once our kids are older. You need to see him. Your kids need to see him. It will open up dialogue about this hugely important subject.
I am not being compensated in any way for this post. I was just so moved by what he had to say and his knowledge and passion are phenomenal.
Look him up, talk to your principals and do all you can to help get him into the schools in your city. You won't regret it.