September 28, 2022 830 PM
PRESIDIO — This Thursday, Presidio parents and caregivers are invited to attend a workshop about keeping kids safe on the internet. Presidio ISD parent Lynette Brehm will lead the session through her program Padres Presentes, which helps parents learn warning signs of risky online behavior.
Padres Presentes is designed to be proactive, teaching kids to be “tech responsible” before they encounter serious danger. “Over 40% of kids are chatting with strangers online,” she explained. “The purpose of the program is to teach parents about dangers online so they can better protect their kids before something bad happens.”
Though a lot of the program focuses on keeping kids safe from grooming by online predators, Brenham will also teach the basics of social media so that parents fully understand the online world their kids inhabit. “Some parents allow their kids to do Snapchat or social media, but they’re not on social media themselves,” she said. “I think there’s a big disconnect between what parents hope their kids are doing and what their kids are actually doing.”
Brehm believes that disconnect stems from how quickly online technology has developed over the past 40 years. “Originally, the internet was not even made for kids — it was never designed like a carseat is designed for the safety of a child,” she explained.
She thinks web safety is especially important after the pandemic — she saw in her own family how quarantine and online distance learning led her child to spend more time on the internet. An incident where innocent Googling led her son to inappropriate content sparked her interest in learning how to parent in a web-savvy way. “It just taught me that parents everywhere need to come together and learn how to keep our kids safe,” she said.
The goal of the Padres Presentes program is to turn parents into “loving detectives,” looking for warning signs of abuse or manipulation online and understanding as much as they can about the types of apps and content their kids are consuming. She hopes to strike a balance between educating others about the dangers of the internet while accepting that it’s an intrinsic part of the modern world. “In this day and age you can’t just say no technology at all,” she explained. “It really just comes down to the relationship the parents have with their kids, and talking openly about these issues.”
The hour-long, free sessions will take place after school on Thursday, September 29, in the Blue Devil Gym at Presidio High School. The session at 5 p.m. will be held in English and the session at 6 p.m. will be held in Spanish. For more information, visit the Presidio ISD website or the Padres Presentes website at https://learntoprotectkids.com/.