Berkeley Co. School District: Monitoring social media starts at home
BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Berkeley County School District says they want their students to use social media the right way, but it all starts with how their parents teach them at home.
The district is kicking off its second year of parent presentations on the potential dangers of social media.
During Thursday night’s first presentation, parents were told about the risk factors of their kids meeting strangers online, engaging in sexting and even how some so-called “innocent exchanges” could lead to legal trouble.
School district security and emergency management officer Cheretha Kinlaw-Hickman says they want parents to know this information now before the consequences happen later.
“Just giving someone a device and not really talking to them about it, that’s a tough thing,” Kinlaw-Hickman said. “That’s like giving your car keys to a toddler and saying, ‘Go drive.’”
Kinlaw-Hickman says the district can only control the school’s devices and not student’s personal ones.
Yvonne Bradley is on the Berkeley County School Board but attended Thursday’s session as concerned parent.
“I hear all the time children having their phones confiscated by the administration,” Bradley said. “That says, to me, they’re doing their job. The children, on the other hand, are making it a little more difficult because they’re not following the rules.”
Kinlaw-Hickman gives examples of what parents should look out for, such as “vault apps” that could look like a calculator icon on the phone, but they secretly reveal inappropriate content once it’s unlocked. She also says cyberbullying or threatening others online could lead to criminal charges.
“The school district works hand in hand with local law enforcement,” Kinlaw-Hickman said. “The entire school with administrators, we work together to assess the threats to see if we can find out where it came from to see if we can get to the bottom of it.”
Bradley says a lot of this information is new to her and wants to make sure her kids are being smart about how they use their cell phones.
“I need to monitor the usage of their cell phones,” Bradley said. “I need to monitor the usage of their electronic devices on a more frequent basis.”
Berkeley County School Board’s next presentation will be held at Timberland High School Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.
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