Guest speaker Scott Fitch spoke to students at Wayland-Cohocton Central School on March 12 to increase awareness about how students’ actions can impact their future or others around them.

Fitch delivered an important message for the audience. The message was about being aware of your digital footprint. Your digital footprint is important because it can impact your future.

Before Fitch started coaching he played basketball at SUNY Geneseo, he was the first person to have his jersey retired. He was the national player of the the year. Now he is a coach at Fairport.

Fitch first discovered that there are a lot of people trying to cope with bullying. He saw that it’s happening to more people as a coach when it affected one of his players. He then began to search all the players’ names to see the type of things they post online. This became part of his normal routine. It’s very important to know how the players or just in general how individuals’ demeanors can change when they aren’t around certain people.

“The first thing I do is Google their names,” said Fitch.

Your digital footprint can define you in many ways. There are ways that your digital footprint can be useful because if you are someone who always gets involved in your community and school, that could increase your chances in getting a job.

More individuals need to be aware of the types of posts they upload because it could be harmful, whether it impacts them or others. Not many pause before posting, they post based upon their emotions and for some it’s like an inclination to upload without thinking about the outcome.

Fitch speaks for Jostens, a company known for yearbooks and class rings, who promotes the idea of “Pause Before You Post,” which is “a public service program from Jostens encouraging everyone to make smart decisions about personal publishing.”

Their pledge for individuals is, “I believe in making smart decisions when I share information online and want to spread the word to my friends, family and community about taking time to Pause Before You Post.”

He began to explain how far cyberbullying can go and he explained how people post without thinking about how people can get offended by it or if it could hurt their feelings and lead them to do something that they can’t take back in the end.

“Keep pushing her she will break,” said Fitch.

Unfortunately, posts or comments made by one can be perceived in an awful way by another which can lead to unnecessary drama or casualties that could have been avoided. It’s important to realize that what you post can always be found even if you posted it years ago and will never disappear because once you post something it begins to have a life of its own.

One of the more striking moments of the presentation was when Fitch began to speak about Cam which was one of his players, Fitch explained how he got three missed calls from Cam earlier that day. Then he was notified that it was because of a family emergency. Cam’s sister had mean comments said to her and no one knew about it at the time and she ended it all which led to Fitch heading straight to the hospital to be there for Cam. Cam just wanted to be around the team and 150 people showed up to help Cam through this obstacle in his life.

Scott Fitch explained to the students that what they do now will determine their future. The students have to be conscious of their surroundings because we all have something going on in our lives and we should be there to support one another.

It was a very eye opening speech about the significance of pausing and taking a moment to think about what you are presenting to the world on your social media accounts. We need to take into consideration about how this can be perceived from other perspectives about certain situations. You can post something that doesn’t seem so serious to you but can impact someone’s thoughts and or aspirations.

Fitch spoke in a way that is relatable and as he furthered the conversation about the topic of bullying, he began to be increasingly more serious because he wants to emphasize the influence their comments can have on certain individuals. The trepidation increased as Fitch introduction continued because he mentioned that he would pull up the students’ posts, they became fearful and worried.

Why were they afraid of their peers seeing their posts?

The audience was afraid because they didn’t want their peers seeing the stuff they post. Some of the posts that we post aren’t exactly something to show in front of a crowd of people but some people weren’t worried at all because they have nothing to hide.

More parents need to be more aware of what’s happening online. This is part of Fitch’s goal, “to make teens and parents more aware of the responsibilities and consequences of sharing information, particularly through online social media.”

The message that Fitch presented to the students at Wayland- Cohocton Central School was inspiring because it brought hope to some individuals that believed they couldn’t do anything or be proactive but Scott Fitch explained that we all have a voice it’s whether we decide to use it or not.

“Are you willing to stand up?” said Fitch.