Parents concerned about social media at Sun Prairie School District's safety night

By: Madeline Anderson Email
By: Madeline Anderson Email

Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 --- 9:45 p.m.

From bullying, to school security, to drugs, Frank Opoku-Appoh is most concerned about what his 12-year-old son is doing on social media.

"I know he has Instagram, I know he has Facebook," he said.

That's why the Sun Prairie parent, along with dozens of others are spending Tuesday evening educating themselves on how to keep their children safe.

"He can actually use my smart phone and do stuff that I have no idea," Opoku-Appoh said. "So that's kind of made me aware that I have to be careful because there are things that he would know, that I wouldn't know."

At a safety conference April 22, Sun Prairie Area School District officials, along with local law enforcement spoke to the community about nine different safety topics.

School resource officer Brandon Lingel had three important internet take-aways for parents:

"Know that your phone has Geotagging and shut it off," Lingel said. "Have a computer in a common area in your house. Keep tabs on your kid. You'll notice changes if they're being bullied, or if something's happening to them in their peer group."

Leading the safety night was Jennifer Apodaca. She says no matter the topic, having conversations early on is the best way to avoid risky behaviors down the road.

"Talking to our kids and communicating with our kids are one of the best ways to maintain safety," she said.

Officer Lingel reminds parents, growing up is a difficult time for kids, mix in technology, and issues are going to come up: "It's a learning process for them and just be there to guide them through that."

"I want to know what to do to help my son, how I can guide him to make sure he's looking at the right things and what he can and what he cannot do, and what he can and cannot have access to," Opoku-Appoh said.

This was the first night SPASD has held a safety night for parents. But school officials are hoping to make it an annual event.

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