Cyber Awareness

MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr addresses parents, students, and staff about the recent issues in cybercivility. More than 100 people attended and Starr provided resources to promote cybercivility among everyone. --Courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools

MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr addresses parents, students, and staff about the recent issues in cybercivility. More than 100 people attended and Starr provided resources to promote cybercivility among everyone. --Courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools

MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr addresses parents, students, and staff about the recent issues in cybercivility. More than 100 people attended and Starr provided resources to promote cybercivility among everyone. --Courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools
MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr addresses parents, students, and staff about the recent issues in cybercivility. More than 100 people attended and Starr provided resources to promote cybercivility among everyone. –Courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr led A Call to Cybercivility at Richard Montgomery HS April 24.

The meeting did not focus on the cyber task forces Starr created after the harsh Twitter posts sent to Starr about the snow days in January and February. It was primarily a call to parents to educate themselves about the importance and extent of online communication and to then pass along lessons to their children.

“[We need to establish to children that they have to] be the people virtually that we expect them to be physically,” Starr said.

Starr invited Andrea Weckerle, founder and president of CiviliNation as a guest speaker. CiviliNation is the website dedicated to creating an online culture where people “can freely participate in a democratic, open, rational and truth-based exchange of ideas and information” according to the front page of www.civilination.org. Weckerle also went into detail about the social workings of social conduct of the internet.

“It’s the social conventions, or rather, lack thereof, that lead to problems,” Weckerle said.

Weckerle continued on, discussing how conflicts online arise, contributions to how online conflicts start and escalate and how to recognize such problems and offset them as well as how to prevent further conflicts from arising. Additionally, she discussed strategies to promote cybercivility not only among students, but also among their parents.

“Instead of viewing [online disagreements] as obstacles we can view them as opportunities to bridge differences or to persuade thoughts that don’t agree with us,” Weckerle said. “These are opportunities; they’re not always bad.”

At the end of Weckerle’s discussion, she and Starr held a Q&A session where parents could voice their thoughts, questions and concerns about the meeting, as well as Starr’s task force. Weckrele also gave out copies of her book. Starr encouraged parents and students with concerns about specific cyberbullying cases to approach him afterwards.