Published 12:45 PM EDT Sep 12, 2018
Facebook wants parents to share their kids' online safety scares and their own concerns face-to-face, so it's making it happen.
Facebook announced today that it's partnering with the National PTA to organize 200 free community events across the country.
Whether parents are worried about online bullying or what their kids are doing online, the social media giant says putting parents in a room together has a power that dispersing information online doesn't.
Digital Families Community Events will give parents a chance to share their own stories and then absorb research-backed information about keeping kids safe, said Antigone Davis, Facebook's Head of Global Safety.
"Parents often look to other parents for guidance or to their friends or to the person in their play group with them," Davis said.
Look for first events in October
Local PTAs can be begin applying for grants now. Funds can be dispersed immediately, organizers said.
The first events are expected in early October. All 50 states will host at least one event.
Parents of younger children are ideal for the community gatherings.
"We are really about getting those conversations going early," Davis said. "When your kids hit those teen years, it gets significantly harder because they separate their identity from yours."
Key topics addressed include:
- Digital news and literacy, or discerning the legitimacy of information found online
- Online privacy
- Being a good digital role model for children.
The events will offer training and guidance, with parents being given resources to take home. You don't have to be a PTA member to attend.
Not a one-and-done
The meeting locations have not been determined, but Facebook officials said the training the PTA officials receive will allow them to extend the impact beyond a single meeting. PTA representatives will host future events, write about their experiences and share information at school functions.
National PTA president Jim Accomando said local representatives are up to the task.
“National PTA has been and remains committed to educating parents and encouraging dialogue to help them guide their children and make the best possible decisions for their families. We are pleased to be collaborating with Facebook to further engage families and PTAs across the country in this critical dialogue," Accomando said.
This latest effort is Facebook's ongoing effort to address online safety for kids. Participating groups include the Center on Media and Child Health, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Fred Rogers Center.
Expertise from those organizations and more have been shared on Facebook at:
Facebook’s Parent Portal: https://www.facebook.com/safety/parents
Bullying Prevention Hub: https://www.facebook.com/safety/bullying
Digital Literacy Library: https://www.facebook.com/safety/educators
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