Being Smart With Technology

OCC students Brandon DeFrancesco (left) and Marigone Istogu (right) quiz 5th graders on a variety of internet-related topics at McKinley-Brighton Elementary school.

“If you see a link and it says ‘click here for free items’ should you click on it?” The question was being asked by a student in OCC’s honor society, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). He was speaking with a group of 5th grade students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School. After a brief pause, a McKinley-Brighton student responded ‘no.’ The OCC student congratulated him on his answer and explained that by clicking on the link, you could be exposing your computer to a virus.

The question-and-answer session Friday, December 7 was part of a larger conversation happening in the cafeteria at McKinley-Brighton. PTK students divided up into four groups and worked with students on a variety of topics including internet safety, cyber bullying and privacy. It was the third time this semester PTK students had shared knowledge with students at McKinley-Brighton. “We want to help when we can. We want to give back to the community,” said PTK President Marigone Istogu. “Community service has a lot of positive effects on us. It helps us develop skills, make contacts and allow us to improve the quality of life of others.”

Jon Clark, ’15 speaks with students about value of putting down their cell phones and interacting with each other.

OCC alumnus Jon Clark, ’15 also spent time with the 5th grade students and told them about the importance of putting down your cell phones. He started a business, UnpluggedCNY which encourages people to get off their phones and connect with each other face-to-face. His inspiration came from his experiences while attending Le Moyne College. “One day I saw 15 to 20 students walking to class with their heads down in their phones. Three of them bumped into me and said, ‘watch out!’ I started asking myself, ‘why are people on their phones so much?’”

Clark put a post on social media stating that for every ‘like’ or ‘share’ he received he would give up his phone for five minutes. He wound up with 130 likes which led to him giving up his phone for about a day-and-a-half. “I used social media as a platform to say we can get off our phones. I had people reach out to me and tell me they liked my mission and wanted to be a part of it.”

Clark’s experience blossomed into a movement. He recently put together a large social gathering at which people just talked to each other. “I didn’t ask people to give up their phones but no one pulled their phones out. I had so many people talk about how great it was to actually meet people and learn what they were about. I hope that’s a lesson students will take from today’s conversation.”

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