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'Boot camp' helps parents understand technology their kids use

Tony LaRussa
| Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, 2:24 p.m.

Helping kids understand the proper use of technology — and its potential pitfalls — isn't easy for parents if they don't know much about it themselves.

But help is available.

The North Hills and North Allegheny school districts are partnering with Northland Public Library and CCAC-North to offer a six-session program titled “Digital Boot Camp for Parents.”

The course, which begins Oct. 21, is designed for parents for middle and high school students and will focus on helping them develop “best practices for digital citizenship.”

Registration is required for each session of this series. To sign up, see: http://bit.ly/2yJlE22. Classes will be held Saturdays from 9 to 10 a.m. in room 3002 of the Community College of Allegheny County's North Campus, 8701 Perry Highway in McCandless. Following is a synopsis of each class in the program:

Popular Social Media Apps, Oct. 21, April 21

Guest speaker Philip Little, the education and outreach specialist for the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, will lead a discussion on fundamentals of the social media sites their children use, and how to keep them safe while using them.

Parents will learn how to navigate and to enable the security features on “apps,” along with recognizing the importance of knowing their child's passwords. Monitoring children's behavior and interactions on the Internet is very critical in today's world.

Digital Etiquette, Nov. 11

Jennifer Ehehalt, the Pittsburgh regional manager at Common Sense Media, will focus on important issues to know about digital rights and responsibilities. The goal of the session is to provide a groundwork for the series and establish a digital etiquette standard in accordance with professional expectations and those of the local school districts.

Talking About Tech With Your Teen, Jan. 20

David Barkovich, the dean of Academic Affairs at North Hills High School, will discuss ways parents can initiate conversations with their children about the power of the technology available to them. The program also will cover digital health and wellness issues such as Internet addiction.

Cyberbullying, Feb. 17

Kelly K. Wesolosky, community outreach specialist for the FBI in Pittsburgh, will provide information about the growing — and changing — threats posed by cyber criminals. She will discuss ways to counteract these threats and teach parents show to navigate through them in a safe and productive way.

Digital Identity, March 10

Melinda Bondarenka, public information officer for the Pennsylvania State Police, will help parents understand the best ways to protect their children's' identities when filling out online applications for athletics, college and financial aid.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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