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Social media specialist urges parents to talk about appropriate media usage

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Pekin, Ill. (WEEK) --  It's incidents like the one in Pekin... the racist video from Metamora High school, and another from Dunlap that are bringing the social media app Snapchat into the spotlight. The app is known for disappearing pictures and conversations, but some teens are seeing that's not actually the case.
As social media specialist, Leah Nieman, explains, screen shots are proving that.

"You know just whatever and it disappears... and that's what we're seeing happening now, kids are thinking 'oh it's just a joke, what i'm doing is just a joke', but really they're writing their story. It's a biography, it's your life. What you say on social media matters, it's communication", said Nieman.

She says there are way to prevent bad social media behavior, and it all starts with a conversation.

"Make the conversations normal in our home, they're going to hear our perspective on the apps. They're going to hear what they should be doing, what they shouldn't be doing. We're not going to be parenting from a negative view all of the time", said Nieman.

She also says parents should use news about social media incidents to start conversations.

"You eventually want to release them as kids, or young adults, that can handle those situations. So I always say, you're walking with your kids through social media", said Nieman.

Another technology specialist says there are no internal ways to add parental controls on any social media platform, so he suggests another strategy.

"Best advice I have is, might as well join in on them with it. Get in on the fun, it's free to use", said Dave Jacobs, with Facet Technologies.

Both Nieman and Jacobs agree that being along side our teen's social media use promotes appropriate usage.

For conversation starters, visit LeahNieman.com

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