When Jesse Miller posed the question to the students who packed Vanier Hall on Thursday, just a dozen or so raised their hands despite a vast majority previously acknowledging about having an account on the social media platform.
Continuing on the theme, Miller, a well-known speaker on the issue of young people and the use of social media, suggested those who are willing to pay would do so probably because it’s fun, it’s interesting and they can see what their friends are doing.
“The thing is, if your friends aren’t willing to spend a dollar a day to look at what you’re doing on the internet, the value of what you’re sharing might not be the same as when it was free,” Miller said.
He then suggested looking at the idea in a different way. When he asked how many have seen a fight over Instagram that wouldn’t have happened offline in the same way, or saw someone saying things online they would never say in front of a principal or teacher or seen a friendship ending over something posted on social media, a sea of hands went up.
“So it’s not worth a buck but the reality is, it’s worth a friendship, reputation or how we treat each other with respect or kindness,” Miller said.
It was one of the points Miller raised during an hour-long presentation meant to give some guidance on “finding a balance” when it comes to using social media.
Among the other points emphasized, Miller warned that contrary to popular belief, “what you leave behind will be found.”
And that could lead to some consequences down the road. Uncovering something unfortunate through an internet search could be the difference between landing that lucrative scholarship or high-paying job and not.
Noting many of the students will be old enough to get a driver’s license in just a few years, Miller said that distracted driving is now the leading cause of collisions in B.C.
And as for those who have hundreds of followers, “I hope you know who you’re communicating with.”
All that said, Miller maintained it’s no reason to take yourself offline.
“I love the internet, I will never ever say the internet is bad because it connects us, it makes us all more aware, it makes us aware of the issue we need to talk about,” he said.
It’s a matter of finding the balance and on that note, Miller offered some advice.
“If your parents know what you do on the internet, if your parents are prepared to talk to you about what you do on Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat or whatever it is, if you’re prepared to show your parents your device, you’re probably in a really good spot when it comes down to using these technologies,” Miller said.
“If in any way, shape or form you’re thinking to yourself ‘now my mom can’t look at my account, I’ve got a password on it,’ I want you to reflect on that device and whose it actually is. Even though you own it as the person holding it, the reality is it’s your folks.
“And even though you may have bought it and even though you might pay the bill, which you should but if your name is not on the contract, it’s not your device.”