Brandon Laur of “The White Hatters,” received a Medal of Good Citizenship on behalf of his family. (Nina Grossman/Black Press)

Vancouver Island’s White Hatter honoured for internet citizenship

Family business helps Royal Roads University student earn BC Medal of Good Citizenship

Online safety is a prime topic of interest to Brandon Laur. In fact, teaching the ins and outs of personal protection has been the family trade since 1993.

Recently, Brandon and his parents Darren and Beth Laur, were awarded the BC Medal of Good Citizenship for their hard work with the family company The White Hatter.

The company and Brandon himself has travelled across North America to present a veritable body of privacy and cybersecurity advice to students, parents and law enforcement.

As the way these things tend to go, Brandon first discovered his passion in seventh grade. He’d begun to get “really interested” in hacker culture, he said. Being his parents’ son, Brandon wanted to gain the ability to present all the computer network security issues he’d found. He decided to ask his father, a “seasoned professional presenter.”

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island residents honoured with Medals of Good Citizenship

“When I was learning about my father, who was a serving member with the Detriot police at the time, he was the use of force trainer, and he’s been teaching safety for pretty much the majority of his life,” said Brandon, a Royal Roads University student.

From that point forward, the company started to be less about personal safety and more about online safety, he said.

The company has reached 450,000 students in 450 schools in Canada and the U.S.

Their success has been in part due to their ability to encourage students to think critically about their internet use rather than discourage them because of the negatives.

“If all you say is ‘Don’t do this – bad people – that type of stuff, it’s really going to be discouraging,” Brandon said. “We pride ourselves in giving upfront and accurate information.

“Students today, they are the experts in what they’re doing with technology, and we need to respect that.”

READ ALSO: One of B.C.’s newest citizens reflects on the value of immigration

Ultimately, the goal is for students to prove they can make wise decisions, he added.

The White Hatter solution to the overwhelming online issues that exist is for everyone to work together, Brandon said. Part of that is teaching law enforcement how to access resources, including other departments, that they may be siloed from and working with schools who don’t realize the services that are available to them.

The outreach is certainly getting noticed, most notably by the province.

“The Laur family will take phone calls, emails and text messages anytime day or night, and all this is done on their own time and at no cost. The Laur family also dedicate hundreds of hours every year to students who would like help in securing their social networks.

“To date, thousands of students, and even teachers and parents from across British Columbia, have taken Darren, Beth and Brandon up on this offer,” the province recognizes on its website.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

RCMP evacuate Cowichan detachment due to explosive device

Device disposed of without incident after man brings in discovered explosive

CO’s call off attempts to trap bear who attacked North Island man

Woss man recuperating after incident on remote logging road

Memorial ride set for fallen Vancouver Island mountain biker

Event scheduled for Tuesday evening for the mountain biker who died in the Cumberland trail system

UPDATED: Saanich Police arrest driver after serious hit and run

Motorists advised to avoid area of McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street

Silly Boat Regatta fills Nanaimo harbour with silly sailing

Island Red Cedar Construction wins this year’s race

SLIDESHOW: ‘Lightning’ hits Vancouver Island for annual Sproat Lake regatta

Alberni Valley Regatta Association hosted sixth annual races

SLIDESHOW: Vancouver Islanders gather for classic cars and cool aircraft

Campbell River’s annual Wings & Wheels event held at city’s airport

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Island man narrowly escapes being run down by his own truck

Saanich resident working on his truck on Darwin Avenue, when it started to roll on him

Firefighters keep flames away from evacuated Langford townhouse

Crews respond after brush fire near Walmart jumps to garden shed

Vancouver Island bid to host 2021 national championships falls short

Hockey Canada hasn’t announced successful bid, but has advised it won’t be Nanaimo

Too much time on social media can hurt teens’ mental health: study

Researchers conducted a four-year survey of more than 3,800 adolescents between Grades 7 and 11

Advocates want charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

Chuckwagon races are a nightly spectacle during the Stampede, a 10-day annual celebration of western life

Most Read