Horry County Schools are taking a closer look at online security issues since a school shooting in September.
Before the shooting, threats to the school were posted on a Twitter page, but school officials didn't know about it. A big part of it is helping parents learn how to monitor their kids' online activities and that process starts with communication.
Before your kids start chatting online, Horry County School's Digital Communications Coordinator suggests, you should have a face to face chat with them about using social networks. "The biggest thing is knowing what's going on and being aware of those environments that your kids are participating in, knowing who your kids are friends with online," said Ashley Gasperson.
Gasperson says worried parents don't have to read all of their kids' e-mails or tweets. And shutting the kids out of social networks completely will lead to problems later on. But she says you should be Facebook friends with your children and know their logins and passwords. "It's having that conversation so that, I know what you have, I know the accounts and we're sharing that information and I'm not gonna go in and read your stuff every day but I want you to know that I care enough to be checking and be protective."
Gasperson suggests, learn how to set the parental controls on your internet browser and the privacy settings on social network sites. You can work with your cell phone company to set limits on the hours your kids can use their phones.
As for the school district's responsibility, Gasperson says it would be difficult for the schools to monitor every child's social connection. But teachers and staff often have their own social network pages, to keep up with what's going on. It's not that different than catching a student passing a note in class. "You see people passing notes and you take the note up and sometimes you throw it away and sometimes you hand it to the principal. It's just at what point do you need to do that."
Gasperson is teaching these tips to parent teacher organizations and community groups. At some point, the district will have much of this information posted on its website.
Statistics show, 40% of Facebook users are under the age of 25.