A special presentation was held for parent’s eyes only regarding their middle and high school students and social media awareness.

More than 100 concerned mothers and fathers gathered at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts for the event that was sponsored by the Brighton Area Schools Health Advisory and Safe Schools Committee. Brighton High School Police Liason Chris Parks led a 2 hour discussion on his findings, the effects, and dangers facing students using their mobile devices.

Parks warned parents that their kids are smart and are trying to outsmart them every day. He said, “They’ve grown up in the social media realm. They’ve grown up with the technology to the point where they are way ahead of the game when it comes to adults because we’re still trying to catch up. They know how to be evasive because they don’t think we’re going to look. So that’s where the parents need to be a little more involved in, and get in these apps they’re using and try to stay one step ahead of them.”

Attendees explored the reward center of the brain and how more and more teens are using social media apps to find instant gratification. Parks highlighted some of the more popular apps youths are using, and warned parents specifically about Snapchat and many invisible apps that feed off of it. Videos were shown highlighting how predators can easily manipulate social media apps to work their way into students’ lives and the inherent dangers that can stem from that happening. This can lead to harassment, bullying for explicit pictures, or even human trafficking. Parks also shared the legal implications that the sender and receiver of explicit pictures could face if they involve an under-aged party.

Parks encouraged parents to talk to their children about their online activity and check their friend lists in apps to make sure they know everyone they are friends with personally. He even had invisible programs and apps for parents themselves to look into that will help monitor their child’s online activity. He strongly suggested one called mSpy, for being software that logs all of a child’s activities. The reports it generates includes phone and text logs, emails, social media postings, and more, even if the kid has deleted it.

Parks stressed the importance of parents being involved, and wished any who had further questions to contact him. He can be contacted by phone at using the BHS direct line (810)299-4162, or at the Brighton Police Department at (810) 227-2700. He is also available by email at parksc@brightonk12.com, or parksc@brightoncitypolice.org. (MK)