WTVM Editorial 12/16/16: The dangers of social media

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - There are many teachable moments for parents to share with their children about using social media responsibly. Recently an incident involving a local student provided one more.

Columbus police say a Northside High School student posted a terroristic threat on Snapchat.

Columbus police Major Gil Slouchick says police must take every such threat seriously. But the major had an even more important point to make that deserves just as much attention.

Here's what he told us: "When things like what happened the other day come up, sit down with your kids and talk about it. Basically, teach them right from wrong."

The major is absolutely right. Too often, children are not counseled on the dangers of social media.

Parents know their children are online but are not able to see everything they post in the digital world.

Teach them that words typed into an app have real consequences. A young person's future can be damaged by reckless statements even if there was never intent to do harm.

Teach children that words can be like weapons. Remind them that their future college and professional dreams can be gravely damaged by even a momentary lapse in judgment online.

We applaud Columbus police and Maj. Slouchick for sending a clear message that teaching children personal responsibility online should be the job of every parent.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road 
Columbus, GA 31906

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