New group aims to ad­dress re­spon­si­ble so­cial me­dia use

Times-Record - - News - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@caro­

RIDGELY — A newly or­ga­nized group is bring­ing to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives of sev­eral Caro­line County agen­cies to work to­wards help­ing al­le­vi­ate some of the prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with mis­use of the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia.

Grow­ing Re­spon­si­ble Ed­u­cated Elec­tronic Neigh­bor­hoods (GREEN) be­gan meet­ing monthly in July.

Its mem­bers, in­clud­ing em­ploy­ees of the pub­lic school sys­tem, lo­cal law en­force­ment and other county de­part­ments, have de­vel­oped a mis­sion state­ment — to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion, sup­port and re­sources to all Caro­line County cit­i­zens in or­der to be­come safe, re­spect­ful and re­spon­si­ble dig­i­tal cit­i­zens.

Dr. Jim Orr, of Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools, said the idea for the group was con­ceived to ad­dress is­sues that have cropped up in schools as so­cial me­dia use has risen.

“But it’s not re­stricted to schools,” Orr said. “Adults have so­cial me­dia is­sues too.”

The group most re­cently met Thurs­day, Sept. 21, at North Caro­line High School.

Amy She­p­ler, aca­demic tech­nol­ogy in­te­gra­tion coach for Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools, in­tro­duced the group to www. com­mon­sense­me­, a web­site main­tained by Com­mon Sense Me­dia, a non­profit that pro­vides in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice on apps, TV shows, movies and more.

She­p­ler said tip sheets, based on age-ap­pro­pri­ate in­for­ma­tion from Com­mon Sense Me­dia, have been dis­trib­uted to el­e­men­tary, mid­dle and high school stu­dents through­out the county.

The group dis­cussed its next step: Plan­ning the first par­ent in­for­ma­tion nights, one each in the northern and south­ern ends of the county. The sug­gested topic for the first such meet­ings was “sex­ting” and send­ing nude pho­to­graphs, an is­sue that is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly preva­lent among stu­dents.

It was also sug­gested the group form two smaller com­mit­tees, one to fo­cus on plan­ning the par­ent in­for­ma­tion nights, and an­other to fo­cus on build­ing GREEN’s pres­ence on so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

GREEN’s next meet­ing is at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, at the Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion’s cen­tral of­fice on Franklin Street in Den­ton.

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