LaSalle parents get social media safety tips from expert

Nearly 50 people attended social media safety presentation at Ecole Monseigneur Augustin Caron in Lasalle.

'Technology is a privilege, not a right,' social media expert Paul Davis tells parents

Social media expert Paul Davis speaks at École Monseigneur Augustin Caron in front of a graphic that displays the top 10 most popular personal identification numbers (PINs). The PIN 1234 takes top spot, followed by 1111 and then 0000. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

Keep technology out your kids' bedroom. That's the advice of social media expert Paul Davis. 

Davis was in LaSalle on Tuesday night, talking to parents at École Monseigneur Augustin Caron.

Much of Davis' 90-minute talk centred around keeping children safe online. He stressed the importance of rules, guidelines and consequences.

"[If kids break] your rules and the technology you've given them, your guidelines as to how they will use that technology and failure to abide by the rules and guidelines, take it away. That's the consequence, and let them know, you're a parent and you're not their friend. And that technology is a privilege, not a right," he said.

Davis also touched on privacy settings, cyberbullying, sexting and internet predators. His biggest tip for parents of elementary school students is to take technology out of the bedroom.

"When they're connected to the internet and they're online, I think the greatest misconception is that my child is safe because they are in their bedroom, and that's totally wrong," he said. "Your child is curious so they will surf the web, they will chat, they will tweet and they will do whatever they want and that's without your knowledge and you don't know what they're exploring or who they're communicating with."

Nearly 50 people attended social media safety presentation at Ecole Monseigneur Augustin Caron in Lasalle.

The former IT professional suggests computers and tablets be used in a common area of the home.

That's advice parent Denise Miller plans to put into effect immediately.

She was one of nearly 50 people in attendance. She says she's going to stop letting her 10-year-old granddaughter use technology in her bedroom.

"Now she's going to be like, 'Oh no, I can't have it in my bedroom anymore'... [but] you're not there and you don't know if they're switching it into something else when you're not around, you don't know. It's really hard to keep track of all of that. So that part makes me nervous," says Miller.

Davis says children need a moral compass when they go online.

"My moral compass that I tell children to have is when you go online, make your parents proud of your actions. If you know that what you are about to do will not make them proud, you know that in your gut you're saying, 'I'm going to disappoint them, so I'm probably going to hurt someone.' There might be legal consequences around them, so think about your parents."

Denise Miller with 10 year-old granddaughter Nevaeh. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)

Davis also advice for adults.

Tell the world where you've been and what you've done, don't tell them where you're going and what you're doing. That's his motto.

 Davis said many people — adults and children alike — fall victim to communicating travel plans through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

"Some people don't even communicate where they're going in real-time. They're just posting pictures that are geo-tagged with the exact location on the earth as to where they are. So they're not telling us they're in the Bahamas but all the pictures are indicating that they are in the Bahamas," said Davis

He said something as simple as a photo can let criminals know you're not home.

"So we know your community in Windsor, your home, is empty and you're in the Bahamas and I think that's our biggest letdown ... I've always said, 'we're making some really dumb criminals, really profitable.'"