BEDFORD, N.Y. – Amanda Greene was one of nearly 100 parents to attend the first in a series of forums on digital citizenship and how to keep your kids safe online at the Bedford Central School District.
Greene and her friend Jennifer Maldonado both live in Mount Kisco and have children at Fox Lane Middle School. They spoke to Social Media Expert Josh Gunderson Tuesday after his presentation, Smart Parents, Safe Kids, which outlined some basic steps parents can take when talking to their children about online safety.
Greene said she constantly reminds her daughter that there are consequences to what you do and say online, and lets her use only Instagram.
Maldonado, also of Mount Kisco, stopped her daughter from downloading the Snap Chat app for her phone, saying she worries as a parent about the one picture your child texts or posts online that could go viral.
“Once you hit that enter button on any piece of technology it’s out there forever,” Gunderson said.
The media specialist said parents should ask their kids weekly what social media sites they’re using, and create their own accounts and follow their kids. Gina Picinich of Mount Kisco said she logs directly into her daughter’s Instagram account every few days.
Before posting pictures or status updates to social media, Gunderson said kids should ask themselves five important questions:
- Why am I posting this?
- Can it wait until I see my friends?
- Is it too personal?
- If the post is at someone’s expense, is that how I would want to be treated?
- Who is going to see this?
After Gunderson’s presentation, parents broke into groups to share their own experiences and talk about topics like cyber bullying and your online footprint.
Tom Micucci, of Bedford, said he thinks the forum is a great opportunity for parents to partner with the district and get a better understanding of what the trends are. He said he thought he was “hip to what’s out there,” but that he hadn’t heard of some of the apps Gunderson talked about. Two in particular, Yik-Yak and Ask.fm, allow you to interact anonymously, which Gunderson said is “the worst idea in the world.”
“Kids who think they’re anonymous think they’re all powerful, and they’re not,” he said, adding that cyber bullies like anonymity.
Gunderson said he was happy with the turnout “because it shows that you want to be more involved.”