My lectures in Western New York
The week of November 7th, I spent several days giving lectures to students, teachers, local law enforcement and parents about cyberbullying and online predators.
It was the first time I'd given a lecture to students under the age of 18 (I've done lectures for college kids for a couple of years now). And it was an experience, LOL!
The first morning was an assembly of over 500 kids in 7th-12th grades. They were boisterous (I remember being a teen), but a good audience. They were quiet at times during my PowerPoint presentation, especially when I showed them why it wasn't a good idea to put too much info in their profiles and when I showed examples of cyberbullying from recent news stories. I did get some questions, but not as many as I'd hoped. I had some kids come up to me afterwards to ask questions privately and overall it was good.
The kids love the KTD logo and seemed happy to find that there is a web site they can go to for info and for help if they need it.
That afternoon I did a 2-hour mini training session for teachers and local police and it went over well, as did the nighttime 1 hour lecture for parents about keeping kids safe online.
The next morning it was over 300 kids from 6th-8th grades - no high school kids. I found that this group asked the most questions and I assume it was because they didn't have to worry about the older kids making fun of them. They asked so many questions, I couldn't answer them all and got a standing ovation. That made me feel great! A surprise - the most questions were about online games (on the PC and not the Xbox or Playstation, etc) and eBay! The teachers afterward said they were shocked at how many kids raised their hands when I asked how many bought or sold items on eBay. Interesting.
My talks with teachers and parents went very well that day.
The next day, Wednesday, it was an afternoon assembly of 6th-12th graders - over 500 again. I was the last "class" of the day, and I knew they'd be kind of loud (I remember wanting to get out of school fast if an assembly was the last class), but for some reason they were overly noisy and I couldn't figure out why. No questions were asked at all at the end and I was flummoxed. Then I found out that because Veteran's Day fell on Friday, the teachers were going to do an in-service day on Thursday. That explained the noisiness - the kids were getting *four* days off and I was their last session. Pfft.
The parents lecture that night was the best of the week - over 50 people attended and a lot of my books were sold. The next day over 200 teachers (and some local police) attended - again, the biggest group of the week. What a wonderful response, good questions and a lot of books sold.
I tweaked my presentation after each time, figuring out what went over well, what didn't, and requests from some folks to add things I didn't have. So it was a "test run" that week, but now I have the presentations down pat.
I got a lot of thank-yous from the teachers and parents for the work we do at WHOA and WHOA-KTD. It's always heartening to hear that once in a while.
I think I am going to try to do more 6th-8th grade assemblies, and possibly 4th and 5th. I found the older kids were less interested, think they know everything and were too "cool" to ask questions. I figure I'll get them younger and hope they remember that I teach when they get into high school.
I learned something though - don't plan two business trips that keep me away all week with only one day at home in between. Two days after returning from the second trip (this past Monday), I got hit with a horrible cold. My body said STOP and I literally collapsed and slept for hours.
I'm back in almost fighting form and have more lectures scheduled, but I'm going to try to space them out better.