On the agenda for dozens of parents Wednesday night in New Westminster was a conversation about social media.
The workshop, hosted by the New Westminster Police Department, was the first of its kind for the force, enlightening parents so they can help their kids navigate their ever-evolving digital world.
Parents heard from a Metro Vancouver mother who knows the dark side of social media all too well.
“I’ve lived it. I know what the importance of social media with parents and kids,” Carol Todd said. She is the mother of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old from Port Coquitlam, whose image went viral after she died by suicide in October 2012.
Keeping kids safe online is no easy task, but experts say parents and educators are becoming more savvy. What they need to do now is start the conversation with their children even earlier.
“We live in an on-demand culture and that on-demand culture is seamless — it’s in our homes, it’s in our education spaces,” said Jesse Miller, founder of Mediated Reality.
“The conversation has to start earlier and parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing and that starts with, ‘hey, what’d you do on the internet today?'”
Todd said there is only way parents can ensure they always get an honest answer to that question.
“Kids need to trust their parents enough to talk to them, parents need to trust their kids enough to give them some independence, but instill the values and the awareness that needs to go behind it,” she said.
Organizers say the plan is to hold more workshops like this throughout the year.
– With files from The Canadian Press
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