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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

John Bapst Memorial High School - Bangor, Maine presentation

Was booked by the folks at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Maine to speak to parents the evening of November 2, 2009. It's a three hour drive from our house, so I stayed at a Holiday Inn up there. My TomTom got a little confused as to the correct location of the school - right street, but kept telling me 48 Broadway was the school when it was supposed to be 100 Broadway.

A local TV station, WLBZ news crew showed up to interview me before my talk, then filmed the entire talk to edit down to a news story. I'll post when that's supposed to be online.

About 30 or so parents showed up, which was good! I am hoping they will spread the word to other parents about the talk (and I think they will). I went through cyberbullying, online predators, then did my Facebook bit where I show that my alter ego asked students to be friends. The results?

100 students were asked to be a friend of my alter ego
98 approved my alter ego as a friend
1 asked to be my friend on their own
Only 2 asked who I was but they still approved me
47 were boys; 52 were girls
48% listed their cell phone number in their profile - 58% of those were girls
4 boys and 1 girl also listed their home phone
67% listed their AIM screen name
84% listed an email address (sometimes two)
2 boys and 2 girls listed their home address
6 boys and 10 girls listed where they work
1 girl listed that she had 1,805 photos on her profile; another girl listed just over 900

What was interesting was that 10 former students asked to be my alter ego's friend, just based on the "mutual friends" we had.

One parent asked how I got the student's email addresses to ask them to be friends. I explained how you do a search for a school, get a list of current students, then click on "Add as friend" - no knowledge of any email or otherwise is needed to ask someone to be a friend on Facebook. Which led me to encourage them to get Facebook accounts and learn how to use them.

Then I showed how easy it was to find an address - one of the students didn't list a home address, but *did* list their home phone number. All I did was a reverse phone search, click on the map/directions to the house (blocking out the family's name), then a satellite photo showing the house. That drove the point home and my emphasis that even if Facebook, Myspace, etc have a spot where you can put your email address, home & cell numbers, addresses, work, interests, etc, you do not HAVE to put that info in. You put in as much as you want to. And the less "said," the better.

What I am finding is that the percentages in my results are about the same for every school I've talked at so far. No one school is "worse" than the other. And it just comes down to students being way too trusting of the "friends" they approve, a show that they have loads of "friends" and being naive, although many think they really are net-savvy.

One of the first things said at the end by a parent in the audience was if I was giving the same talk to students the next day. I said no, I was booked to speak to the parents. Many parents expressed an interest in bringing me back to speak to students - and I am hoping the school will do so!

I sold six books (yay!), which paid for the hotel room and enjoyed speaking to parents after my talk. One came up and asked that I remove their house before showing the presentation again. I explained that what I showed was for this school only and that I tailor my presentations for each school I speak at. Relief on their face.

I also mentioned that I put a lot of time into my presentations - the girl who had almost 2,000 photos? I looked at *every* photo. I must have spent three solid days going through the profiles, photos, comments, etc. Then putting the presentation together. I need a raise (ha ha)!!

Got back to my room, pleased with the turnout and wonderful questions asked, but tired. Ordered a philly cheesesteak from the hotel restaurant, at it in my room, then crashed hard. In the morning, drove the three hours home. On to the next school!!

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