Updated on April 9, 2013
The Paris Brown Twitter Scandal – and What Parents Need to Know
What would your reaction be, if your teenage daughter tweeted comments such as these?
I am guessing most of my readers would be horrified, and would have a stern chat with their daughter or son.
Paris Brown, the UK’s first youth police and crime comminssioner (PCC) was revealed to have tweeted the above comments over the past few years on her private twitter account. She has since apologised, and explained that she was ‘wildly exaggerating’. .
Questions need to be asked though, as to why the appointment by Kent Independent PCC Ann Barnes was not preceded by a thorough vetting of the young woman and her views. And why no one thought to check Ms Brown’s Social Media accounts before she was appointed.
It is simply not acceptable to place a young woman into a position where she will be scrutinised and criticised in the national press without ensuring that there are no skeletons in her Social Media cupboard. The comment from Ms Barnes is simply incredible.
“We went through a perfectly normal recruitment process. We had her vetted by the force and nobody normally looks through anybody’s Twitter feed.
“Social networking sites are a no-go area for most of us adults.
“A lot of young people use them and say the most horrible things. They don’t even think about what they are saying and I think this is what’s happened with Paris.”
This is all seen from a Social Media point of view. Obviously Ms Barnes will have to explain why Ms Brown was chosen, when there are surely hundreds of young people in Kent who don’t share these abhorrent opinions.
It is a strong reminder that young people need guidance about what they share online, and that the older generation cannot say, ‘Oh, I don’t do all that Twitter and Facebook nonsense’ and ignore it.
We parents have a duty to our children to inform ourselves of the issues. You don’t need to actually use FB or Twitter, if it is not your cup of tea, but check it out and find out how you can monitor and protect your children.
At present many schools concentrate on cyberbullying and don’t give much guidance on the personal consequences of oversharing on Social Media, so we can’t rely on our kids learning this at school.
If you have a teen or pre-teen, do you monitor their Facebook and Twitter pages, and have you talked to them about what they share online?
I wrote about the first Social Media Generation earlier this year, and this weekend has shown how vital it is to have this conversation with our young people.