Albury High School students learn about legal responsibility on social media

PRESENTATION: Litton Legal's Bec Litton and Kristen Zumbo have been presenting about social media and defamation for Albury High.
PRESENTATION: Litton Legal's Bec Litton and Kristen Zumbo have been presenting about social media and defamation for Albury High.

IT'S no secret that young people live two lives today – one in person, and one online.

Albury High School deputy principal Damian Toohey knows social media isn't going away.

So rather than instil fear about online media, Mr Toohey has instead opted to make sure the school's students know how to look after themselves on social media apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Bec Litton and Kristine Zumbo from Albury firm Litton Legal visited year 11 and 12 students last week to deliver a presentation about online defamation and the importance of protecting one's reputation online. 

“This is something that is really important to us,” Mr Toohey said.

“Who teaches the kids to drive a car? Their parents.

“But who teaches them how to use social media?

“Usually it's their peers.

“We often have the police come in and talk to them about social media from a police perspective, but to have a lawyer and social media consultant come in and speak about the different things that can happen in their field is priceless.

“It was a great presentation, well thought-out.”

The aforementioned duo will return to the school in the coming weeks to present to years nine and 10 students.

Their presentation outlined what can be considered to be 'published’ and ‘defamatory’ on social media, as well as how far and how quickly a post can travel.

“Our year 12 students went overtime, they were asking a lot of intelligent questions, which was very pleasing,” Mr Toohey said.

“At that age they're reaching a level of understanding about the legal system that they haven't before, they're getting their heads around the implications of certain behaviours.

“It's about the unknown, even as adults we don't know some of the ramifications of the online space.

“We have to give them a few more skills, kids are getting online earlier and earlier now.

“Social media isn't going anywhere any time soon, it's going to be part of our social fabric for the foreseeable future.

“In days gone by something would happen, then in a few days or so it'd be a distant memory – unfortunately that's not the case now.

“Things can really build up steam on the internet.

“We want to give them the skills to use social media positively, it's not the kind of format you want to be making too many mistakes on.

“You have to be a responsible citizen in person and online.

“Even things like creating a page – if you do that, you are responsible for the content on it.

“Kids need to get their heads around those concepts, there are real-world consequences in play.”