Last night amidst a wind/ice/frogs/holy-cow snow storm, I had the absolute privilege of presenting to approximately 250 parents, teachers, and community members at St. Albert the Great Church in North Royalton, Ohio.
I have to be honest. Despite having attended Catholic schools for 12 years, I had SERIOUS misgivings about presenting from the altar of a church. I was fully expecting a lightning bolt to come straight through the ceiling and reduce me to a puddle of goo. (By the way, what is the past-tense of “smite”? I know it’s not “smitten” or “smoted”.)
When I shared my fears with Fr. Ed he said “Why are you afraid? Are you PLANNING on saying something inappropriate?”. Says I: “No Father, but that implies I know what I’m going to say before it comes flying out of my face.”
Onward and upward though….and after two hours we had covered:
- The current “state of the union” in terms of the digital environment in which your children live
- Which platforms are the riskiest and which to outlaw in your home altogether
- Sexual Predation
- Social Media – generally and specifically
To the participants who attended: you asked incredibly insightful and mindful questions at every stage of the presentation. Just your willingness to become educated and create digital rules in your homes reduces your overall risk level. Your motivation to create a better digital environment improves the overall digital environment. As they say, “it takes a village”, but my version is: “it takes a village and a hammer”. Thank you all for making me feel welcome.
So, in the end I was not smoted (?), but I will say that all of the lights in the church spontaneously went OUT at one time about 15 minutes after I was done….seriously.
Special thanks to:
- St. Albert the Great School‘s administration include Mr. Vittardi and Mrs. Basch
- St. Albert the Great’s PTO (Facebook)
- St. Albert the Great Parish, and Fr. Ed Estok
- The Partnership for a Healthy North Royalton (PHNR) (Twitter) (Facebook)
Jesse "Big Mama" Weinberger is an Internet Safety Speaker for schools, the host of the Internet Safety Podcast: Big Mama's House Podcast, and the author of The Boogeyman Exists: And He’s In Your Child’s Back Pocket; a guide for parents and educators on how to keep children safe in a 24-7 always connected digital society. Learn more about how to keep your children safe online. She has been teaching parents, schools, and students how to navigate online and mobile risks since 2003. Jesse is available for internet safety presentations to schools, parents, students, and organizations all over the United States.