WAC Advisory Meeting #3 Featured Discussion- The Locker, Key, Combination Lock, or Security Guard?

Cyber bullying is a problem that pervades the Internet. Striking a balance between keeping the site accessible while ensuring privacy for the user is no easy feat.

To address this, we have designed WalkAlong to have dual points of access. For those who wish to explore the site without signing up, the site will be open and available for users to look at information, tips and resources. In addition, there will also be a secure area where a registered user can interact with the site alongside a community of peers.

One of the features in the secure side of the site is called the Locker. You can personalize and store private resources in your locker in order to access them on an ongoing basis, similar to a Pinterest board. Content may include links to blogs, favorite songs, relaxation techniques, or resources to track mood, such as a journal. Just like your locker in high school, the locker is intended to be your own. You can also post things on the outside of your locker that you want to share with other site users, or with select individuals to whom you allow access, while keeping the inside of your locker private.

We asked our committee: Should the locker be open to comments from others? The WAC suggested that for each item posted to the outside of your locker, the user may choose to enable comments, with the default being to block comments. Then the user may screen comments before they become public- for example, be able to accept or ignore comments posted on their locker. Finally, having a community manager or “a bouncer” if you will, that protects and monitors the site from inappropriate content and use is considered to be essential by all members of the committee.

The discussion around the locker feature brought great feedback to the team. The committee sees the locker as a tool for online peer support; for example, the locker could act as an icebreaker between two registered users. For example, a WAC member said they might say something like, “I noticed you have been struggling with things I have struggled with, here is my locker and some things that helped me.” Another exciting suggestion was that the users could give locker access to family or friends to help them understand what they are going through. This could be done by exporting the whole locker, sending selected components by email, or offering one-time access to the locker itself.