ShareThis Page
Workshop slated for parents about social media pitfalls children face |
North Hills

Workshop slated for parents about social media pitfalls children face

Karen Price
| Saturday, February 9, 2019 1:30 a.m
Ryan Klingensmith

Ryan Klingensmith says the tricky thing about parenting in the digital age is that there is no way today’s parents and caregivers can base their approach to guiding children through social media on how they were raised.

“Parents know how to teach their kids to drive because someone taught them to drive, and they can drive and they can talk about safety and practice with their kids, but with digital stuff parents just don’t know as much as their kids do,” he said.

Klingensmith will address issues of parenting in the digital age, creating responsible social media users and knowing what to be aware of and look for at his upcoming presentation Feb. 21 at Eden Hall Upper Elementary School.

Klingensmith is the founder of Shape the Sky, described as a network of parents, educators, clinicians and media who want to “enrich the online experience for our children through better education and more effective communication.” Klingensmith himself comes from a background in therapy and mental health working primarily with youth and teens with mental health disorders.

In 2012, he said he was new to Instagram and was disturbed when one day he came across a photo of a teenager cutting himself. He started scrolling through the platform searching hashtags related to mental health issues and realized the types of online communities being formed around sensitive, harmful and dangerous behaviors.

He started to ask around to see if others had discovered the same thing, but most adults hadn’t because they weren’t on Instagram or other platforms the kids were predominantly using at the time.

He says a lot of parents who come to his sessions tell him they didn’t know what they didn’t know.

“They always say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that, thanks for sharing because I didn’t know any of this stuff existed,’ ” he said. “And it’s all kids. I’m not saying all kids are doing this stuff, but all kids can be exposed. I tell parents even if you have a good kid they could easily see other kids doing things that they may not know how to handle. If you have a fifth-grader and he’s scrolling through Instagram and sees someone posting about suicide, will he know how to handle that? Is he going to pull you on board and talk about it or not because he thinks he’s going to get yelled at and doesn’t want to lose his technology privileges? Everyone here has skin in the game and everyone has to be part of the solution.”

The session will address image boards, untraceable messaging, hidden photo vaults and other apps designed to help social media users keep secrets. Klingensmith will also discuss the sites kids are using the most these days, including Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and TikTok, as well as youth culture and mental health practices on the various sites and apps.

“Kids are going to make mistakes, but let’s try to talk to them and have the conversations beforehand so they know what to do,” Klingensmith said. “I tell (parents) let’s try to prevent the big mistakes and help them roll through the little ones. But you can’t prevent the big ones if you don’t talk to them first and give them the direction to go when confronted with some of this stuff.”

Karen Price is a
Tribune-Review contributor.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.