BROWNSBURG — Parents here gathered this week for a forum on social media presented by the Brownsburg Community School Corporation Police Department. Officers shared information in an effort to promote healthy online activity.
The presentation started with Officer Kim Kiritschenko giving parents a rundown of what social media she’s seeing used by Brownsburg students.
“The most common is still Facebook,” Kiritschenko said. “There is a limit of 5,000 friends and I have seen Brownsburg students who do have 5,000 friends. It speaks to their status, how many friends they have.”
She said many students have two Facebook accounts - one for family and a second one for friends.
“When grandma got online and ‘friended’ them, they opened a new one for friends only,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot more action on Twitter and Instagram.”
Kiritschenko said Tumbler is another social media site the department has noticed.
“It’s a microblogging site where they can share images and gifts,” she said. “The site has banned self-harm and suicide, but done really nothing to police it. It’s up to the parents to know what sites your kids are on.”
Ask.fm is also gaining in popularity with local youth, she said. The site is designed for people ages 13 and older to ask questions anonymously. They can chat and meet new people.
“But you can just click a button that says, ‘yes I’m 13 or older,’” Kiritschenko. “And the site is based in a country called Latvia. If something illegal does happen, you have to go through local law enforcement there.”
She said popular apps include Snapchat and Kik.
“Snapchat is a very popular ap where you can send photos, texts and videos that are only viewable for a limited amount of time,” she said. “The max viewable time is 10 seconds. But it gives a false sense of security because we all know how to take screen shots of our phones.