Pattie preaches privacy

Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After, Inc. and mother of Marissa’16, spoke to the Parents’ Association (PA) on Nov. 15, 2011 about Internet safety for teens.

Safely Ever After, Inc. equips par­ents with tools to combat the numer­ous potential dangers of modern day technology, including but not limited to online predators and cy­ber-bullying.

The Safely Ever After, Inc. website, includes information on child sexual abuse and its prevention, Internet safety rules and other resources re­garding modern-day media, such as “Cyberbullying 101” and tips to pre­vent sexting.

Fitzgerald distributed handouts to Marlborough parents entitled “Social Media and Teens: Our Kids’ Connected Culture” which provid­ed parents with advice on how to protect their children on the Inter­net. Tips included creating a Social Media/Cyber Use Family Contract, restricting the child’s use of tech­nology at night in order to eliminate potential distractions and creating a Facebook page in order to keep a watchful eye on your child. The handout also contained other out­side resources such as numerous articles on social media by author Rachel Simmons, another recent Marlborough speaker, and Stacy Peña, founder of marketing consult­ing business, Rainmaker Communi­cations.

Parents’ Association Co-President Winnie Mokri, mother of Clara ’14, said Middle School parents were the most eager to hear Fitzgerald speak.

“I think a lot of the kids get Face­book as soon as they turn 13, which is right when they start Marlbor­ough, so parents were just flocking to [Fitzgerald],” Clara said.

Mokri, along with Co-President Susan Edelman, mother of Emily ’13 and Sarah ’16, said Fitzgerald large­ly focused on Facebook privacy set­tings.

Edelman mentioned Mark Zuck­erberg’s recent personal Facebook mishap, when in early December 2011 private photos of Zuckerberg and his girlfriend were leaked to the public.

“Another thing [Fitzgerald] pointed out is that Facebook is fre­quently changing its privacy set­tings so you have to really be vigi­lant about updating them,” Edelman said. “I thought that was a good re­minder.”

According to the Presidents of the PA, Fitzgerald’s objective in her visit was to familiarize parents with the social media world their children are so engrossed in as well as to pro­vide some helpful Internet rules for parents to implement in their house­holds.

“I think it’s really good parents know what’s happening on these websites,” Isabel’17 said.