Volunteers are using IBM educational materials to help their communities enjoy the advantages of the digital world while protecting themselves from potential abuses. On the issues of cyber-bullying and managing (and protecting) one’s online identity, two IBM volunteers stand out for their commitment to service.
Marko Rinne, Global Partner Manager, IBM Finland, has used the Cyber-Bullying
Volunteer Kit during numerous visits to area schools. And Peter Kusterer, an IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs manager in Germany, has used the Control Your Online Identity Volunteer Kit to instruct parents, teachers and students on how to protect their privacy. Marko and Peter used two of the 34 free IBM Activity Kits that contain everything needed to get started with volunteer service.
Marko’s story: “I volunteered to teach about cyber-bullying because I have children who could be directly affected by this behavior. I’m a football (soccer) coach, and my team uses a website to keep our players updated on training, tournaments, matches, and camps. Our players register for these activities via the website, so I wanted to provide a safe environment for them to share information – including personal information such as their photos and other content.
The Cyber-Bullying Volunteer Kit – which my colleague Niina Huhtala developed from research she conducted for her Master’s thesis – gave me the tools I needed to give a presentation to my team about this important issue. Niina’s thesis formed the basis of IBM’s anti-cyber-bullying efforts during the Centennial Celebration of Service in Finland, and I would consider the volunteer kit based on her research a ‘must have.’
I learned a lot from teaching with the kit, including information that I use in my personal life. And after sharing the information with other parents in my community, we’ve had many interesting discussions about raising children safely in the digital age.”
Peter’s story: “Privacy is one of the hottest topics of social discussion in Germany, where our state privacy officers frequently challenge the behaviors of social networking companies. So concerns about data sharing are widespread among adults, though less so among youths. But while young people are pretty advanced in the technical aspects of social networks, they can be unaware of the impact their posts might have – both for themselves and their friends. So when we started offering internet privacy workshops to local schools, we got a lot of interest from teachers and parents who were eager to join their students and children in the seminars.
The Control Your Online Identity Volunteer Kit really helps jump start the discussion – especially with young people. The kit’s approach is less about ‘telling’ than ‘learning,’ and it includes video modules that resonate well with a young audience. As IBMers, we enjoy a certain degree of credibility when it comes to addressing technology issues, but the kit looks beyond the technical aspects of internet privacy to focus on the implications and opportunities associated with using social networks. Our kids don’t need us to show them how to post on Facebook, since they’re better at it than we are. But we can provide them with insights into how their online behavior can affect their lives now and in the future. When a friend posts a spring break party photo on your Facebook wall, it might seem harmless enough. But what are the possible implications if your car insurer or landlord gains access to that information? The volunteer kit helps raise awareness of these issues for a young audience.
That said, I also learned a lot from the kit – especially about the role of data analytics in social networking. The more I learned about privacy issues in a social context, the more I started to consider the business implications of Smarter Commerce. I started to recognize the connection between the business and social aspects of the digital world. And I came away with a greater appreciation of how important it is to know how these systems work so we can navigate them safely.”