Altoona hosts social media awareness seminar for parents May 31


Mychenze Alberts , Reporter

Ryan Klingensmith, a public speaker, will speak at an internet safety seminar May 31 to make parents aware of social media misuse and take action in keeping children safe online. At the seminar, Klingensmith will speak of app reviews, cell phone use, social media use/misuse, setting expectations and discussing ways to talk to young people about wise uses of their devices.

Autumn Barry-Kyle, ninth grade English teacher and Julie Yahner, ninth grade counselor, were the main planners for the seminar.

“We were at a conference and Klingensmith presented there. He did a really good job, so we wanted to contact him. He presented a lot of good information. We basically just asked if he would do a presentation for our school and he agreed almost immediately,” Yahner said.

Yahner and Barry-Kyle were attending a conference for their student assistance program when they discovered Klingensmith.

“Well, as school counselors we see a lot of conflict, bullying and  problems that are associated with social media. We see upset kids show up to school in the morning because of conflicts on social media from the night before,” Yahner said.

Yahner and Barry-Kyle are going to see how the presentations go and possibly have student presentations too.

“I think this will be effective because every teenager has some sort of social media presence and a lot of parents did not grow up with it, and education is needed on usage and monitoring,” Barry-Kyle said.

Barry-Kyle has a daughter of her own, whom she monitors on any online platform.

“ I don’t have any rules about my daughter because I trust her, but I do follow her accounts to ensure no inappropriate content or information is revealed because there are people out there, and they may not actually be your friends and can get your personal information,” Barry-Kyle said.

Barry-Kyle has high hopes for the seminar and hopes there will be a large audience ready to learn.

“I think that parents should know what their children are doing and obviously students are more tech savvy, so the more knowledge you know, the better. You can know [your child] just by knowing their friends. Communication is not going to houses and meeting people anymore. This way if you know about these apps, you’re able to see what your children are doing online, and it’s a way to know what’s going on in their lives. The more you know, the safer they will be,” Mangan said.

Mangan wanted to make it a point to allow all parents to the seminar and not limit access to just Altoona parents.

“I think it was just his message that reeled us in. Social media is an extremely hot button topic at this point in time, and we see so many problems outside of school that comes in and causes problems from the night before. We need to work together, as partnerships, to deal with social media. This is a key part with the parents’ understanding of what their children are doing and protecting them from possible dangers on social media,” Mangan said.

Mangan hopes for a large impact on parents and student to hopefully end social media misuse.

The seminar will be taking place on May 31 at the school and it is open to all parents in the surrounding areas. 

Internet Safety