Kik, Snapchat, Whisper, Whatsapp, Omegle, Instagram, Askfm and Yik Yak. Do any of those ring a bell? They’re all apps our kids are using to communicate and as parents it’s important to not only understand what they are and how they work, but be aware of the messages and images kids are using them to share.
I’m the first to admit I’m not much of a techie, but there’s no denying that our kids are. It’s the world they’ve grown up in and social media isn’t going away. It will continue to evolve and impact the way the world communicates. Keeping up isn’t easy, but as parents in order to protect our children from the dangers that lurk behind the anonymity of a screen, we have to try.
Tuesday, our School Resource Officers will be providing a free Parent Internet Safety presentation at the Yates Theatre from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They’ll be sharing information on apps that are currently trending, laws as they relate to the Internet, online safety tips, and there will also be a question and answer period. If you have school-aged children I would strongly encourage you to attend.
It is quite common for parents to feel a little bit clueless sometimes when it comes to knowing what their kids know about the Internet and that’s part of the impetus for this presentation. The goal of our SROs – who have a tough job themselves keeping up with the latest apps and online trends – is to help provide a greater understanding and awareness about Generation X and Y within the online realm. Working directly with youth, they see first-hand the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to social media and there is rarely a day that goes by that they aren’t dealing with some sort of online issue or complaint.
During the safety presentation parents will learn more about common online activities including use of social media, music downloading, video streaming and gaming as well as prevalent issues such as cyber bullying and sexting, including the possession and distribution of child pornography and the related laws. Right now, based on what we’re seeing in schools, KIK, Snapchat and Askfm are the most troublesome apps kids are misusing, but of course that’s constantly changing. As parents it’s our job to keep up.