Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Golden Rule of the 21st Century

Book review written by Mary Kay Hoal founder of YourSphere for Parents:

Order today.
Richard Guerry’s Public and Permanent: The Golden Rule of the 21st Century: Straight Talk About Digital Safety: The Real Consequences of Digital Abuse isn’t just an educational resource for parents and teens, it’s an eye-opening analysis of what really drives the Internet safety issues we see today in digital communication and social networking.

The educational aspect aside, what makes Richard’s book so valuable is in the way it’s laid out for readers. Richard takes a very linear approach in explaining issues like Internet privacy and anonymity, viruses and spyware, personal and corporate responsibility, cyberbullying, sexting and much more.


So who is to blame for the myth of privacy in the digital world?
[…]I believe that website developers need to assume some responsibility for the way in which they are marketing Internet privacy to their consumers. However, when people post information that they don’t want the world to see on a third-party site, such as Facebook, should Facebook be held accountable if a criminal see—and perhaps uses—that content? Absolutely not—the person who posted the information should be!
No current or future website can:
  • Make anyone use their site
  • Make anyone type in personal information
  • Make anyone upload a picture to their platform
  • Make anyone harass somebody via their messaging systems
But a website can make us believe that our actions are “private”—and that is where they seem to be incurring some responsibility and liability. (pg 40-41)

Throughout the book, Richard challenges readers to make their online experiences safer for themselves by taking personal responsibility for the choices they make, as well as understanding the consequences for making said choice. This is a huge, and often times overlooked, aspect of digital safety awareness, and Richard delves deep into the reasons why this deserves more public attention.

My personal experience with Richard has been nothing but inspiring. I’ve seen him give digital safety presentations in schools close to where I live, and I’ve seen the connection that he has with kids and how they soak in his information like a sponge. I’ve seen parents come up to him and thank him, not only for the education, but for the meaningful, yet simple, messaging that he passes onto their kids.

I highly recommend that all parents read Richard’s book. The information you’ll walk away with will open opportunities to have an educated discussion with your kids/teens about digital safety and responsibility. I bought the book myself, read it, loved it, and have since handed it over to my oldest daughter. You can buy the book here.

Mary Kay Hoal is an Internet Safety Expert that I highly respect and recommend to parents regularly.  Yoursphere is a social networking site for kids - where their safety is their priority.

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