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  Being in a technology world is not always easy for the baby boomers (persons born between 1946-1976). The Millennial generation (persons born between 1977-1994) and generation Z (persons born between 1995-2012) make it seem as simple as ABC, but there is a lot when it comes to technology and safety for all generations. To become aware of what it takes to be literate in different aspects of the technology world and its safety, AT&T created the Digital You Curriculum and then teamed up with DECA to create greater awareness by presenting the curriculum throughout the communities. DECA, founded in 1946, is a “501(c)(3) non-for-profit student organization with more than 200,000 members in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain.” Their mission is to help prepare future leaders and entrepreneurs in finance, marketing, hospitality, and management within high schools and colleges through thorough programs and activities, which includes classroom instruction, business etiquette and promotes competition. AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that consist of learning opportunities, promoting academic and economic achievement, or addressing community needs. “AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.” Through Aspire, AT&T has surpassed their goal of $250 million to invest into $350 million in education from 2008-2017. AT&T and DECA were able to hold the first-ever Digital You Symposium on February 9, 2017 at Banneker High School in College Park, Georgia. Throughout the symposium, student participants from Banneker, Langston Hughes, and Campbell High Schools were able to present information about the use of technology and its safety to individuals of all ages.  The student-led presentations focused on topics such as teaching tablet and smartphone training for older adults, protecting identity data and devices, cyber bullying, managing your digital footprint, and parenting in the digital age. Everyone near and far has the right to feel protected online or simply dealing with technology overall. Bill Leahy, president of AT&T Georgia remarked, “At AT&T we are dedicated to empowering our customers to use our products and services in a safe and secure manner.  Digital You is a campaign to empower our consumers to seize the benefits of technology while avoiding some of the safety and security pitfalls.  Digital You is part of AT&T’s rich history of working with other organizations like DECA, and together we look forward to educating and empowering our consumers to help them get the most out of today’s technology.” The DECA student participants were thrilled to have the opportunity to help spread a positive message to their community. According to DECA VP students from Banneker High School LaCalvin King and Leslie Alas, “We are proud to be members of DECA, and excited to have the opportunity to share this Digital You curriculum with members of all ages in and around our community.  We believe that while there are so many benefits to technology, there are also some aspects that can be scary as well, and we are excited to help the people in our neighborhoods connect online safely and securely.” Being technology friendly and smart has its benefits, but if you’re not aware of the damages, you should make a change. Everyone has the right to feel safe when using his or her smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you are one who is very informed on information about safety tips and how to use these gadgets, inform others. It will definitely make an impact on others, just as the Digital You Symposium had on its audience. Photo by Geoff Chesman, courtesy of DECA.    

The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.