Meridian Star

March 17, 2013

Teens and technology subject of seminar

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Officials at Russell Christian School and Russell Baptist church will host a parents only event Tuesday, March 19, beginning at 6:30 p.m. that will address the dangers of teenagers putting out too much information about themselves through social media for the world to see.

    "Technology is a great thing but when it is misused or misunderstood, it can be very damaging," said Steve Taylor, pastor at Russell Baptist Church. "We want to bring parents from all over the area into one place where they can learn about these pitfalls and dangers so they can better protect their children."

    The guest speaker for the event is David Drake, associate director of activities and technology for the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. Drake has tracked the influence and usage of the latest technologies and the potential impact on on teens. He has spoken on numerous occasions on how parents can get involved and protect their children from a wide variety of issues.

    "One of the reasons why we stress only parents is that the material I will be covering can be pretty tough and frank," said Drake. "I don't know any other way to let parents know what they are up against and about the issues impacting their children."

    Drake said topics such as sexting, suicide, bullying, how young people can create dangerous drugs, as well as social media issues will be covered in the seminar that will take about 90 minutes. Drake said teens face extreme pressures from their peers via social media on such hot button topics as homosexuality. He said internet blackmail is prevalent among teens.

    "These issues begin when children are in the third or fourth grades," Drake said. "That is why parents need to be educated on what is happening out there."

    Langford Knight, the athletic director for Russell Christian Academy and a school board member, said the seminar is free to all participants.

    "There is no cost to anyone who is wanting to come and take part but I promise you the information will be invaluable," said Knight.

    The seminar will be held in the Russell Baptist Church Worship Center in Russell.