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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    How does Gonzaga Protect Students Online?
    What goes into the Artificial Intelligence that is presenting schools with a significant issue. Photo taken from using CC License

    It is no secret that in today’s world some of the most evil events happen from behind a screen. This is especially true with teenagers as social media has become ravenously popular amongst teens and tweens, but how can children be kept safe from outside threats and sadly from the threats of classmates and other children their age? 

    Maryland lawmakers have begun to tackle this issue with new legislation that would force large social media companies like YouTube, Google, Instagram, TikTok and many others to crack down on their privacy settings and set up default rules for users under the age of 18. For example, YouTube would have to turn off autoplay for users that are minors, Instagram would have to turn off their geolocation for under 18 users and TikTok would have to disable the feature that allows users to talk to strangers. These changes are an effort to stop cyberbullying and to allow children to see the good side of social media rather than banning it altogether. If this law passes more than likely these companies will lose out on a significant amount of revenue. Also, it will not allow these companies to market towards children.  

    “Protecting students online is a difficult task. It’s not like bullying on campus, which we can see and directly intervene with. There are a lot of different approaches we need to take. One of which is the new Freshman Foundations class where we talk to students about both the pros and cons of social media. We also teach them what a healthy relationship with your phone looks like and how to set healthy boundaries,” said Mr. Patrick Sullivan, director of instructional technology .

     Furthermore, Gonzaga mandates a software conversations in  Freshman Foundations.

    “They teach about healthy uses of social media. We also discuss with parents what to do and how to help their sons and set them up for success and safety online,” Mr. Sullivan said. “The goal of these classes is to teach the men of Eye Street what healthy friendships and relationships look like.” 

    Students take the two aforementioned classes when they are a freshman and sophomore; then they discuss it again in Ethics junior year and Social Justice senior years upperclassmen teaches students what a healthy relationship and friendship looks like. Gonzaga believes that this knowledge will help to strengthen the good parts of social media and eliminate the bad ones.  

    Students’ feelings are not the only thing that Gonzaga protects online; many students are familiar with the new two-factor authentication feature on our Gmail accounts. 

    “We don’t do this to annoy you guys. There have been schools in the DMV that have gotten data stolen and placed under a lock and key for ransom. With the two factor authentication that won’t happen. I understand it’s frustrating but it is just best standard practice now,” Mr. Sullivan said. 

    Gonzaga is one of the more advanced schools in the DMV, especially from a technological standpoint. All of the classes about social media as well as the classes about essentially how to be a good person have set the standard for social media use at school.

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