NORTHEAST, Miss. (WCBI)- Everywhere you look, somebody has their eyes glued on their cell phone or their fingers typing away on facebook or twitter.
One place it’s effecting teens is at school. West Point School Superintendent Burnell McDonald knows this first-hand.
“Over the last few years, it has really changed. One particular thing that just happened recently, we had information where students were sending out text messages saying this particular group of students were going to do something to this particular group of students. These students were going back and forth and guess what, their meeting place was going to be at the school,” said Superintendent McDonald.
McDonald says cellphones and social media have become a distraction and each day it gets harder to track which app kids are using.
A popular app teens are using today is called ‘Snapchat.’ People can take a picture of themselves and they send it to their friends. As soon as their friends receive it, almost instantly it gets deleted. However, someone can easily take a screenshot of that photo.
“A lot of times kids think, oh if they delete it, it’s gone. No, it’s still there. Even a text, email, can be considered part of your digital footprint,” said Dr. April Coleman, Assistant Professor of Education at Mississippi University for Women.
Dr. Coleman says parents need to sit down with their teens and talk about what tweets, statuses and posts are appropriate.
“For example, not using your phone during meal times or not taking your phone to the bedroom at night,” said Dr. Coleman.
Parents should also monitor their use daily.
“Look at having accounts on the same social media sites they’re on, periodically being able to check in, following their friends. You can actually create private lists on twitter and can really be an active part and take an active role. It’s not that you don’t trust your children, you’re just holding them accountable and setting that high standard for them to live up to,” said Dr. Coleman.
“You know, years ago we could say who our kids were. But now, it’s almost impossible. So now, let’s try and teach them to use it in the correct way,” said Superintendent McDonald.
There are also plenty of apps parents can monitor their kids with.
One is called “Mama Bear.” It shows the activity happening on social media and gives you a report.
Another app is called “My Mobile Watchdog.” With this app, parents can watch what a child does on their phone at the same time it’s taking place.