Josh Gunderson at Suffield Academy
In this day and age of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where everything we do online is everyone else's business, Josh Gunderson encourages students to be private about certain things. "Take the time to appreciate the technology that you have," he told the Suffield community during chapel on Monday, February 25. However, he warns, "just because it's instant doesn't mean we need to take advantage of that." Josh spoke to the Suffield community about everything from social media to zombies. His presentation called "Hooked on Facebook" highlighted the perils of using social media inappropriately as well as the bullying epidemic that has spread across some schools nationwide. In reference to bullying, Josh said, "Think not only of yourselves but of how you're affecting other people." He had seven tips for tackling online bullies: don't respond, don't retaliate, save the evidence, "block" the bully, talk to a trusted adult, be a friend not a bystander, and take time to think.
Josh isn't your average educational speaker; despite the intense topics he covered, Josh skillfully managed to deliver a very serious message to the Suffield community with just the right amount of humor. In reference to those who think about taking revenge against bullies, he warned against it, joking that "revenge causes baldness." But he left Suffield students, faculty ,and staff with a very important takeaway, "We're leaving behind footprints every time we log on to our digital devices. Think about how your grandmother or future employer would view your activities." As someone who was bullied as an adolescent, Josh ended his presentation with nine profound words, "I could get bitter or I could get better." He clearly chose the latter.