Digital parenting: how to monitor your child in the cyber world

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BROWNSBURG (March 4, 2014) — Believe it or not, social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are old news now. Enter Snapchat, Kik, and MeetMe.

In a cyber world filled with millions of friends and followers, experts say it’s important for parents to stay connected and keep their kids safe online.

“When I grew up, it was the diaries. It was very private information, you didn’t do those things,” said Kelly Marshall, a parent. “This is a completely new culture.”

It’s the reason why Marshall and dozens attended a digital parenting workshop at Brownsburg High School Tuesday. School resource officers offered advice on everything from how to monitor kids on their social media accounts to new apps and sites they could potentially be logged on.

“This is where our kids are living now,” said Chief Ginnie Wing of Brownsburg Schools Police. “We’ve got to meet them there. We’ve got to know what they’re doing, where they’re living, and when they’re on there.”

Wing said these websites, if left unmonitored, are potential platforms for problems like cyberbullying, sexting among teens, even with strangers. She suggested parents keep an eye on their kids by creating accounts, checking friends lists and posts and asking for their passwords.

Marshall’s 10-year-old son doesn’t have a smartphone yet, but she wants to be prepared.

“It’s not about catching them and getting them in trouble,” she said. “It’s truly about keeping them safe.”