Police Advisory Committee addresses online safety

Meeting asked parents to communicate with children about media



Scott Patrick, school resource officer, gives a presentation about online media safety on Monday afternoon at Pullman City Hall.

KAITLYN TEJERO, Evergreen reporter

The Police Advisory Committee hosted a presentation about online safety on Monday night to bring attention to the unknown dangers of technology, and how social media can play a crucial role in children’s and teen’s lives.

Scott Patrick, school resource officer, said one of his main goals was to educate parents about how their children are using their phones, computers, and other social media platforms. Before the presentation began, Patrick handed out a media agreement to council members and attendees who are parents. The agreement encourages families to communicate about guidelines and boundaries concerning how their children will use technology.

An attendee said she was shocked to find that certain applications can track someone’s location, and that some have their own messaging systems. The presentation screen displayed a list of potentially dangerous apps, which included Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and other applications.

Patrick said the potential dangers stem from the way children communicate through social media, especially when they use false profiles.

He believes the mistakes young people make online are inevitable, Patrick said, so it’s better that they learn sooner rather than later.

“I want kids to make mistakes, because most of the time, the consequences aren’t as severe,” Patrick said. “We can use it as a teachable moment, and hopefully they don’t make those same mistakes when they are older, when the consequences are much more severe.”

He said the most vital piece of information to take away from his presentation was to not be afraid to be a parent and enforce rules on how children use technology.

Patrick said he is compelled to deliver presentations about online safety because he sees the results of the choices that children make whether they are positive or negative.

“I think it’s important that we educate kids and communicate with them and set expectations and then follow through. That’s the hardest part, is following through with what the consequences are,” he said.

Patrick was eager to have the council members and audience get involved with his presentation and learn about how technology is changing the way people communicate.