Par­ents hear warn­ings of what teens face to­day

Iran Daily - - Society -

The av­er­age teenager sends 3,741 texts per month. Two bil­lion peo­ple, or one in three peo­ple world­wide, are on Face­book. And 700 mil­lion peo­ple post pho­tos to In­sta­gram each month.

Those were statis­tics shared by Pamela Casey, dis­trict at­tor­ney for Blount County, with a group of par­ents of chil­dren in Auburn City Schools. Casey gave a pre­sen­ta­tion about the dan­gers posed by so­cial me­dia ap­pli­ca­tions at the Auburn Uni­ver­sity Alumni Cen­ter, oanow. com re­ported.

“I think par­ents are some­times obliv­i­ous to what their chil­dren are do­ing on their phones,” said Casey, who is serv­ing her sec­ond con­sec­u­tive term as dis­trict at­tor­ney.

“And it’s not just phones; it is their ipod and their ipad. Par­ents might say, ‘My kid doesn’t have a cell­phone’. But they’ve got that con­nec­tion.”

Casey spoke to the crowd of par­ents about cases where preda­tors used mes­sag­ing apps, such as Kik and Omegle, to lure teens and chil­dren to meet them. She ed­u­cated par­ents on apps such as Photo Vault and Au­dio Man­ager that al­low users to hide pho­tos and mes­sages on their phones. And she taught them what they can do to help pro­tect their chil­dren from so­cial me­dia dan­gers. Pre­cau­tions in­clude ad­just­ing set­tings to dis­al­low app down­loads un­less they are first ap­proved by par­ents.

“I have a mid­dle schooler,” said Cather­ine Ed­wards, a par­ent of chil­dren in the Auburn City Schools sys­tem.

“Tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing so quickly, and I get over­whelmed as a par­ent.

“My child’s phone is on a plan where they can’t down­load any apps with­out us ap­prov­ing them first,” she con­tin­ued.

“So I was glad to hear that if we’re do­ing that, at least we’re on top of things. But in no way do I think that’s where we stop be­ing aware and at least keep learn­ing.”

Lee County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Bran­don Hughes, who in­tro­duced Casey be­fore she spoke, said he and his wife have the pass­words to their chil­dren’s so­cial me­dia ac­counts.

“We re­al­ized tex­ting isn’t the only way they can mes­sage. In­sta­gram has a mes­sag­ing fea­ture,” he said.

“Kids are go­ing to stay one step ahead of their par­ents. That’s why kids aren’t on Face­book much any­more. If the kids go some­where, par­ents fol­low. Then, some­body comes up with some­thing else, and that’s where the kids go.”

Casey has trav­eled across Alabama to ed­u­cate par­ents and stu­dents about the dan­gers of so­cial me­dia. She also has dis­cussed the sub­ject on CBS’ na­tional pro­grams and ABC’S ‘Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.’

“To me, it’s im­por­tant to spread the word,” she said, adding par­ents are ‘hun­gry’ for in­for­ma­tion be­cause they didn’t grow up with a cell­phone. “I be­lieve that if you can save one child, or one par­ent picks up the phone and finds an app that could have led to some­thing with their child, then it’s worth it ev­ery time I come to speak.”

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