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Ask HN: Was Called to Speak in My Daughter's Junior School – Any Ideas?
9 points by tzury 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
The principal wants me to speak for the kids, 4 and 5 graders about online safety, perhaps given I am a founder of an application security startup.

Anyway, I would appreciate your ideas about topics and content. I assume smartphones, App Stores, et al, are as important as web browsing, perhaps even more given their popularity amongst the kids.

It will be 45 minutes and I want it to be interesting and useful!

Thanks in advance for your advice.




Whatever you do, start off with a story that will grab their attention. Maybe a hack you saw first hand, maybe a story of a seemingly innocuous social media post leading to unforeseen consequences, maybe youtube or twitch stars getting SWATted, anything to grab their attention and make them think right off the bat.


Emphasize that talking to people online is not like talking to people in person. Posting stuff on the internet is not really a private conversation, even if it is just two people talking. It can be rebroadcast in a way that is way worse than someone you trusted repeating your spoken words.

Anything you say online is much more like posting to the front page of a newspaper or walking down the street with a megaphone and it can get out of hand very fast. Like the telephone game, what you said can rapidly become warped and it is magnified because of the potential size of the audience involved.


There's lots of good online safety stuff published, eg for my local school area and by central government here in the UK.

Maybe select the best nuggets from them, and add your personal spin, eg based on anything that has happened to family and friends, and at work. Maybe ask the head teacher if there is any recent experience of theirs worth folding in. (I am a school governor, and I am aware that interesting incidents are fielded from time to time at school.)


good idea, the personal angle. thanks!


Do you have any cool branded tchotkes?

Still remember the time a dad came to speak at my school who was an airline captain. He brought toy Delta Jets and Crew Wings!

The kiddos will forget your 'meaningful/insightful' chat in 15 minutes. The tchotkes stick around.


Maintain their interest and remember if you do a good job you'll not just be passing on best practices but inspiring a future generation of who knows... show the passion. Consider quizzes, activities, music, etc to enhance the atmosphere and reinforce the learning.

If you've not done a lot of work with this audience typedo a dry run with the principal and some teachers and ask for frank feedback; as you're speaking to minors in a formal setting I guess this is prudent anyway.


I would address the fact that whatever they post online is probably going to be accessible and easy to find for the foreseeable future.


thank you all for your advice!




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