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Video Encourages Parents To Teach "Digital Citizenship"

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: March 2016 Pages: 3-6
Becky Lewis
Date Published
March 2016
4 pages
A 12-minute video produced by the Paulding County (GA) Sheriff's Office guides parents in teaching their children about online dangers and "digital citizenship."

As part of the agency's parent education seminars, the video explains the many ways in which their children have access to a wide and diverse world of images and information through the electronic media they use and how parents can guide their children's responsible use of social media. The video, which is entitled "Digital Safety in the Wireless World," explains to parents that granting children unsupervised online access is like letting their children leave their homes without telling their parents where they are going or what they will be doing. Specific problematic uses of social media are discussed, such as posting "selfies," even if they are not explicit, and youths' preference for various types of social media apps. The video advises parents not to react to their children's inappropriate use of their smart phones by taking them away. The preferred approach is for parents to set ground rules that include giving parents access to monitoring the apps and other content on a child's phone. Parents might even consider entering into a "contract' with their children that specifies both children's and parents' responsibilities and limitations regarding phone use and parental monitoring. The video recently went up on YouTube. Although it is too soon to evaluate its impact, the hope is that it will reduce the number of calls the Sheriff's Office receives from concerned parents about their children's smart phone uses.