Lawrence school district hosting social media nights for parents

If the only meaning you know of the words “snap” and “tweet” are something you might hear, you may want to consider attending one of the Lawrence school district’s upcoming social media nights for parents. Because, odds are, there is a lot of tweeting and snapping going on across the screen of your teenager’s smartphone or other device.

While many of us have heard of (and may even use) Facebook, statistics say that is just one of several platforms your student is likely to be using on a regular basis. About 70 percent of teens report using more than one platform, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, according to a recent Pew Research Study.

The district began the parent nights this year in hopes that education for parents on the potential pitfalls of teen social media use will help prevent issues such as cyber bullying, sharing of private information or other inappropriate use, such as “sexting.” So far this school year, the district has reported three incidents of Internet threats made by students to law enforcement. Last month, a New Zealand blogger accused a Lawrence student of online sexual harassment.

The last two meetings of the school year will be held next week, one at West Middle School and the other at Liberty Memorial Central, and both are open to any parent in the Lawrence district. The session at Liberty is at 6 p.m. Feb. 9, and the one at West is at 6 p.m. Feb. 11.

The presentations will include an overview of social media and information on online safety and responsibility provided by a juvenile investigator with the Lawrence Police Department and by Lawrence school resource officers.

And in case you want to brush up on (or learn for the first time) about some of the platforms kids are using before attending, check out my Beginner’s guide to social media.