Children, Parents and Social Media, the need for education

This past Monday, I sat on a panel in Naples Florida where we talked about social media and children. It was put on by the Collier County School Board and the panel consisted of law enforcement officials, representatives from Naples High School, and an individual from the Naples Daily News as well to name a few.

Throughout the 2 hour discussion I was amazed at what I heard but not surprised, and thus I jotted down some things. Three of the recurring themes coming from everyone’s lips on the panel were:

  • Education-It might seem as if that is a redundant thing to say in this type of setting, but it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to not only educate your children on the perils of certain aspects of social media, but how important it is to stay on top of it as well. the big follow up question to this was, “Where are we supposed to go for that information and education?”
  • Accountability-Social media has now made everyone accountable for what they do and what they say now. Yet children do not realize the larger implications of their online actions and interactions in social networks. As parents it’s important to understand the broader implications of social media missteps.
  • Communication-Ironic that the “thing” that helps us communicate with more people, seems to reduce the amount of communication  amongst us. But in order to stay on top of what your child is doing and who they are doing it with, what they are saying and who are they saying it to, and what they are sharing and uploading and who that is with, you have to communicate and you have to do it a lot. In other words, talk to them, ask them questions, be proactive not reactive. Don’t be afraid to dig a little.

Along with the discussion were a few links that I had suggested that parents take note of: allows you to check for the use of your brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 350 popular and emerging social media websites. Similar to Knowem. is a real time people search tool that looks into nearly every corner of the web to find comprehensive and centralized people related information consisting of images, videos, phone numbers, email addresses, social networking and Wikipedia profiles. takes safety very seriously and strives to create an environment where everyone can connect and share comfortably. Find answers to a variety of safety questions here.
It starts with this and continues with a willingness to educate and share. Social Media is not bad and I had wished that we might have spent some time on the positive things of social media-Perhaps another session is in order for that.

Twitter Town Hall Takes Center Stage


Twitter Town Hall,  a concept slowly starting to make sense, came roaring into the spotlight last night. At the epicenter of people who are most concerned about health care reform (senior citizens living in Florida) it became a little bit more magnified.

Last night, at the Naples Daily News headquarters, I had the pleasure to help manage with Cyndee Woolley, the “back channel” for a discussion on Health Care. However the difference was that this back channel was in the forefront.

Why? Because we took questions not only from the SRO crowd of almost 300, but also from the folks watching the stream live on their computers and participating via Twitter. Hyper local took on a whole new meaning.

You want to see Web 2.0 in action across multiple generations? We had it last night. Streaming video, Twitter, Facebook and 3 party applications all played out before the common people who wanted to hear and wanted to be heard.

Interestingly enough this was essentially the brainchild of one of Florida’s state representatives, Matt Hudson, who truly “gets” the power of social media. And because of social media, the event was organized very quickly, was very well attended, and it achieved it’s goal of informing as many people possible in as many ways as possible.

Here is NBC’s take on last night’s Twitter Town Hall

Here is the Local Fox affiliates take

Town Hall meetings might never be the same.