'Look both ways before you cross the street."
That's what parents used to say to keep their children safe. In today's world, it involves a lot more. That's what Mr. Anthony Luker from the Education and Outreach Unit of the PA Office of the Attorney General came to speak to Scenic parents about on Wednesday night.
Titled Social Media 101, Mr. Luker's presentation covered many topics, including safe and appropriate use of social media, sexting, cyberbullying, ghost apps, and device security. Mr. Luker began with stating, "The online community is a great tool, but can also be used in negative and toxic ways." He made several recommendations to parents about monitoring their children's online activity, noting that children are accountable for their online activity, and if the phone is in the parent's name, the parent may be accountable as well.
Mr. Luker cited a study by Common Sense Media, The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, which showed students are exposed to 7-9 hours of media each day, and only one hour of that is typically educational. Mr. Luker suggested parents take 30 minutes to sit down with your children and play an online game, like Fortnite. This can open a dialogue between the parent and the child about what's happening in the game, the features of the game, and if there's been any activity that seems suspicious.
"A person's digital presence is important," stated Mr. Luker, who said that it is common for college admissions counselors and employers to search online communities for potential red flags in a person's profile.
Tips from Mr. Luker:
· Voice and text chat can be turned off within Fortnite.
· Auto-Play can be disabled on YouTube, so that the search results will only show what was searched for.
Mr. Luker's recommendations include:
· Have a regularly scheduled time each day when your children detach from their phones.
· Have a universal charging station where children charge their phones overnight.
· Do not let students, particularly younger students, have their phones in their rooms overnight.
· If your child has multiple calculator icons on the phone, most likely those extra calculator are ghost apps.
· Common Sense Media is a great resource for parents, with information on apps and age appropriate content.
We encourage you to review with your child the tenets of appropriate use of social media. Here are some links that may be helpful: