Social media doesn’t have to be against you — it can work for you, speaker tells parents

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A social media expert came to Ursuline High School Monday to offer parents some advice on how to keep their kids safe online

Ochs, Smart Social, talks to parents at Ursuline High School in Youngstown about keeping kids safe online

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Social media has become part of American life, especially for young people. Parents, on the other hand, may not understand it all, which is why there was a social media seminar for them Monday night.

Social media has its dangers, but a speaker at Ursuline High School showed parents the positives that can also come from it.

Josh Ochs, with Smart Social, compared apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to taking your kids to a park.

“If you’re letting your kid under 18 go there alone, it’s probably not the best bet,” he said. “You’ve got to be where your kids are at and when you’re there, it’s a very safe place.”

Ochs recommends parents sit down with their children and Google search both themselves and their children.

“Your student will start to realize that everything that they’re posting online makes an impact on their future resume, their reputation,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘Wait, that’s not me,’ and now you’re working with your kids instead of against them, telling them what not to post.”

Ochs tells parents many colleges and universities will also use Google on a candidate, but that can be a good thing.

“We’re going to teach them how to build their private portfolio and use some techniques to get that personal website to come up first in Google,” he said.

It’s Digital Wellness Month at Ursuline High School, which brought Ochs in to teach students and adults to embrace social media.

“We have to teach kids to use it for their benefit and for positive,” said Assistant Principal Maggie Matune.

She said it’s better to embrace social media.

“As opposed to telling them, ‘Don’t use it,’ ‘Avoid it.'”

Crissa Palowitz said communication and involvement are some takeaways she had from the seminar.

“Being involved in social media with your child so that you know what they’re doing and have conversation with them.”

Ochs’ company, Smart Social, offers an app to help parents and kids stay safe on social media and use it to their benefit. Its website also provides tips and resources about several different social media sites.

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