With cell phones getting into the hands of younger and younger children, Colonial Elementary School (CES) made sure that guest speaker Robert Hackenson, Jr., wasn't just available to talk about social media with the students — he was available for the parents and guardians, as well.
"I am here to find out what other people have to say about social media and to hear something new that I haven't already heard," said April Dubin, parent of a CES fourth grader.
Mr. Hackenson uses magic and storytelling to educate children about the dangers of the Internet and social media, including limiting screen time, being careful about reacting to texts without seeing someone's body language, cyberbullying and meeting strangers online. He believes that it's important for parents and guardians to hear the same message — and use the information to reinforce responsible social media use at home.
"Because the parents hear what I told their kids, they can blame me," said Mr. Hackenson. "It gives you some validation: 'Remember when he said this?' It gives you something to build on."
For the evening presentation, Mr. Hackenson also shared some of the statistics, like how many hours students spend online and how many texts they send a day, as well as ways for parents and guardians to stay involved in their child's life online.
"Technology is an amazing and powerful tool, and with great power comes great responsibility," said Mr. Hackenson. "It's like when you're teaching your child to drive a car. A car has a lot of power and risks. You might have formal driver's education training, but you need to make sure the parents are in the passenger seat teaching them what to do and not to do, as well."