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

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

VIDEO: Scorpion found in B.C. woman’s kitchen finds new home in Victoria

The Victoria Bug Zoo welcomed the scorpion on Saturday

Islander reaches Everest summit

Clayton Matthews’ team got to the top of the world last week

Proctor family brought back to ‘emotional state’ as her killer applies for day parole

Family member says life is a ‘roller coaster’ since Langford teen’s murder

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Woman rescued from Nanaimo’s East Wellington bluffs

Evening hike turns into overnight ordeal for Nanaimo woman who lost her way as darkness fell

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

Keep your distance when fawning over baby deer

Island conservation officer advises deer can forage on their own and don’t need human help

Premier John Horgan visits his old Saanich high school to announce rise in robot funding

Horgan, a Reynolds grad, used the occasion to play catch with the school’s robot

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Most Read