Social media awareness starts at home
by Jennifer Stahn
Parents engage in a social media exercise at the Mediated Reality information session Monday night.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
January 28, 2014 - 2:29 PM
KAMLOOPS – If you use your phone when you're not supposed to, maybe at work or while driving, why would you expect more from your kids?
We are the example for our kids, we are their guides and if we don't fully understand what technology is capable of it is a lot harder to protect them from the dangers that are out there according to social media expert Jesse Miller.
“The technology we use to broadcast our lives... we don't expect privacy anymore,” Miller says, and for kids not shown the pitfalls, it can cause problems. “They don't have life experience, ethics... to think how it will affect people.”
Not all technology is bad though. We shouldn't be scared of it but we should be aware of the dangers, according to Assistant Superintendent Alison Sidow. The school district brought in Miller to speak to parents and students after a police investigation was launched last week due to the exchange of 'inappropriate materials' by students through social media. Miller will also speak at several elementary schools Tuesday and has been asked back to speak to more parents and high school students at a later date.
Several hundred parents, some teachers and even a few students showed up Monday night to hear the Mediated Reality speaker. He was quick to engage with analogies everyone in the audience could relate to, but even quicker to note the many real dangers that are out there.
From information left lingering in the cyber abyss and technology addiction, to broadcasting information and pictures that should not be documented, Miller covered many topics in the two hour talk.
He made the audience think about their usage, including how we as parents sometimes (often) use our technology when we shouldn't and how that sets an example for our kids. We also need to be aware of what's out there and educate our kids about it.
“We give them a lot of tools to broadcast but no lessons on how to use them,” Miller points out. “We have to understand the capabilities before they come into our homes.”
One of the dangers is a throwback to a big talk many of us had with our parents growing up—stranger danger.
“If a stranger comes up to you at a bus stop and says 'Hey I like your photos' would that be okay?” Miller asks. “Then why is it okay online?”
A few numbers Miller shared with the crowd:
- 3,400; the number of average text messages a teen sends and receives in a month.
- 90 per cent; the number of people at the Monday talk that have used social media or technology when they know they're not supposed to (work, driving, etc.)
- 87 per cent; the number of kids with an N license that have admitted to using a cell phone while driving.
- 70 per cent; the number of kids at a recent talk with Instagram.
- 40 per cent; the number of those kids that don't know all of their followers.
- 2.5 months; the amount of time it took Amanda Todd to become the third most Googled person in 2012.
- One penny; the cost per day to 'keep a lot of our kids safer' because many parents would refuse to hand over their credit card for social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram if they cost money.
To contact a reporter for this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.
-This story was edited at 7:43 p.m., Jan. 28, 2014 to add video.
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