Social Media Expert Offers Parents Advice
Prince George, B.C. – From Snapchat to Instagram, are you aware of what your kids are up to online?
That was one of the big questions nationally recognized social media expert Jesse Miller asked about 60 parents during a 90-minute presentation at Duchess Park Secondary school last night.
“It’s not about looking at a wide brush answer of here’s an app that’s positive, here’s an app that’s negative,” he said. “Any tool can be used in a negative way – it’s looking at the inclinations of your own child based on their interest in online communities, online gaming, photography, and at the same time just connecting with their peers.”
The visit, organized by the Prince George RCMP and just two weeks after a social media hoax that caused area schools to take precautionary measures for two successive days, was timely.
That incident led to the arrest of two teenagers, one of which was later released from police custody.
But it begged the question, was bad parenting to blame for what happened?
“I wouldn’t say so, I mean you can look at challenges as a whole. These ideas of doing something on the internet or participating in a trend,” said Miller. “Parenting isn’t necessarily to blame. There’s a lot to keep up with.”
He noted keeping up is key – especially in an age where social media has become a modern-day measurement of character.
“You will be searched online by prospective universities, potential employers, new relationships, the parents of the person you are dating, the parents of the person you want to marry and your future children.”
Miller said to watch for the following red flags should you suspect your child may be spending too much time online.
“In the sense of your child becomes defensive about the use of the device. Your child starts taking it to places you as a parent don’t want the device in like a locked room, a bedroom, or bedside with them as they’re sleeping.”
He said one way to mitigate excessive phone use is using communal phone chargers.
“They’re fantastic because it sets the notion that everybody in the home is participating that way and that’s a great family value because it sets the tone based on usage but at the same time a parent leads by example,” said Miller.
In the end, he says a balance needs to be struck.
“If they don’t want to put the phone down – it’s a discussion you need to have with your child.”