Las Cruces Magazine

Fall/Winter 2015-16

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82 I Written by Tiffany Etterling Photography by Morgan McGinley Parenting "Social media is the way of the world," notes Las Cruces mom, Pearie Bruder. Like it or not, the Internet, smart phones, and social media are here to stay. Rath- er than fight the tide, many parents are arming themselves with the knowledge necessary to keep their kids and teenag- ers safe. Myth #1 All Social Media is Bad for Children Social media has a bad reputation in many areas, but it's not all bad. There are many positive aspects to social media, says Pearie. Pearie and her husband Ron have three children: 13-year-old Veronica, 10-year-old Michael, and 7-year-old Max. The conversation about social media in the Bruder home started around 2006. "I can remember the moment when it came up," explains Pearie. "The Disney chan- nel started doing PSAs about your digital footprint and what to post and what not to post on social media. I thought that was so profound." After serious family discussion, Pearie and Ron decided to start Veronica on Instagram at age 10. "Veronica is artistic and she likes the interactivity of posting and finding content," says Pearie. The Bruders believe that Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Facebook, and other apps stimu- late creativity and provide a platform for Veronica to share her art. "Social media can provide a great resource for children to communicate with family and friends who live in other locations," adds Donna Winchester, a counselor at Tombaugh Elementary School. Many teachers are using social media and online resources as teaching tools in the classroom. Michael uses social media to learn and engage with kids around the country. He is a fan of the social media super duo, Jack and Jack, and has even seen them in person at a DigiTour. "These are just real kids doing Vines and skits on YouTube. They go on DigiTours and do these great question and answer ses- sions," explains Pearie. "It's hilarious, and it's just great that they're normal kids, like your friend next-door." Myth #2 Social Media is Private Children believe in a lot of things: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy. By the time they reach middle school, most kids have grown out of childhood myths, but many still believe privacy ex- ists on social media, computers, phones, and other devices. "It's not called 'private media'; it's called 'social media,'" warns John Linney. As the owner of Impact Coaching and Speaking, John works with Las Cruces schools to train educators, students, and parents on how to improve school climates. "Make sure kids know that everything they put on their phone or on social media is permanent and accessible," he stresses. Even services like Snap- chat, where messages are automatically deleted, aren't 100 percent effective. John shares many stories of young lives devas- tated when supposedly private Snapchat photos were retrieved and shared on so- cial media. When it comes to technology, he warns, nothing is ever truly deleted. Not only can information be stolen from a Essentials every parent needs to know before setting kids free on the Internet Veronica Bruder enjoys interacting with her friends on Instagram.

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