Resources for Parents

Social Media Awareness Campaign

Welcome to the SMACtalk Parent Blog! As parents, we are all raising our children in a digital world that may look different from our own childhoods. Regularly talking with our children about their online world is one of the most important things we can do. Here you will find videos, thoughts, and other resources curated by thoughtful parents so that we can become better at talking SMAC with our kids.

In companion to the SMACtalk Parent Blog, parent-friendly posters - in English and Spanish - are provided as another means for schools to connect with parents and parents to connect with their children. Posters are designed to inform and educate parents in keeping our children safe online. Posters can be placed in the parent center at a school, posted online, shared on social media, or sent home in students' backpacks.


Vlog: Using Social Media for Social Good

by Dr. C.J. Huff, a retired superintendent, distinguished educator, and inspirational leader

Social media comes with its challenges in this day and age, and there seems to be plenty of negativity surrounding it. However, C.J. shares how we can leverage social media in supporting children and youth to do something positive.


January Parent Posters: Shine Online

by SMACtalk for Parents

Click the image(s) to download the PDF poster learn about establishing an online presence.


Social Media Awareness and Expectations in Our Home

by Emily Torres, parent of Arkansas students

We have five children ranging in age from 21 months to 11 years old. None of them have social media accounts or even smartphones. The research behind mental health ties to children having those accounts was very eye-opening for us. Because of this, we have chosen that our kids can have devices appropriate to their age. They have a shared Chromebook that is used in a common space. They have an iPad as well that is shared. Apps have to be approved by us before adding or deleting, and we have parental filters on that device. We also limit their "electronics time" to 30 minutes a day unless it is reading on their Nook.

Our oldest asked if he could get a cell phone at ten years old. The agreement is that he has a prepaid phone with no internet/data capability. He paid for the phone, and he pays for the monthly plan as well if he wants to use it. We always have his passcode. We communicated ahead of time that we would be allowed to check his phone at any time, no questions or arguments. He also gives his phone to us at bedtime every night. These rules are also followed at his dad's house.

This has worked for us because the expectations were laid out before a phone was ever introduced. We feel it is essential to have those discussions with your kids before a situation ever comes up. Once it comes up, the issue is harder to handle if you haven't established guidelines. As parents, we never know if we are always doing things right, but I believe communication is the first step to success on any topic.


Vlog: The 5 Biggest Concerns for Kids on Social Media

by Rachel Schell, parent of an Arkansas student

Hear more from Rachel Schell as she discusses the five biggest concerns for kids on social media, based on her conversations with Arkansas parents and her own experiences, and some strategies from experts for facing these issues.


December Parent Posters: Privacy Matters

by SMACtalk for Parents

Click the image(s) to download the PDF poster about ways to protect your child and their information online.


Vlog: Importancia de usar la tecnología apropiadamente

by Lena Ballard, School Counselor at Lakeside Junior High

Lena Ballard es la consejera de la escuela Lakeside Junior High en el distrito escolar Springdale. Ella habla de la importancia de usar la tecnología con moderación manteniendo una comunicación positiva y con adultos como modelos a seguir para nuestros adolescentes.

Lena Ballard is the School Counselor at Lakeside Junior High in the Springdale School District. In this video she talks about the importance of using technology with moderation, maintaining positive communication, and adults being good role models for our teens.


The Glitter of Social Media

by Katie Pittenger, parent and educator of Arkansas students

As a mother and an educator, I have had my fair share of experiences with social media. There have been a variety of apps and platforms that my children and former students have used over the years, but they all have served the same purpose. Everyone has their own reasons for taking a "scroll" during their free time. I myself have a few social media accounts that I use to keep up with my friends and family, as well as for entertainment, and even for work. Social media is such a big part of how we interact with each other today, even more so than when my kids were teenagers.

I have always tried to remind my kids that they should be careful about what they post. The things you post online are like glitter. Have you ever used glitter? Maybe to make something prettier, or to help a sign catch someone's attention? Glitter is awesome! Except when you want it to go away. You think that you have finally cleaned up the last of the glittery-slime-making-fiasco that overtook your dining room table for a few days over the summer, but then months later you get up from dinner and someone asks how you got glitter on your face. Glitter is never completely gone, just like the things we post online. We can do our best to change settings and try to delete things, but once they are out there we have no way to know who may have screenshot them, saved them, or shared them with others.

As parents and educators, we share the responsibility of teaching and protecting our children in the real world and online. Resources from the Social Media Awareness Campaign can be a great way to get those conversations started.


Vlog: Social Media as a Family

by Cedric Black, advocate for Arkansas students

Join Cedric Black as he talks about his journey through social media and using social media together as a family.


November Parent Posters: Vetting Information

by SMACtalk for Parents

Click the image(s) to download the PDF poster about vetting information and identifying fact vs. fiction.


Parents Should Share SMACtalk Videos with Kids

by Brittany S. Williams, parent of an Arkansas student

After visiting the Social Media Awareness Campaign webpage, I can say that I appreciate this approach used to spread awareness to young students. My six-year-old was extremely engaged as he watched the videos on online dangers. I was amazed to see how well he responded when I asked him what he learned from the information provided. He stated, "don't download things without grownup permission. Don't tell people where you live or your birthdate, and don't talk to strangers." He was told to check out the website for 20 mins, but he enjoyed the videos so much that he ended up watching them all. I'm definitely pleased with that. Not only was I glad to see that my son retained information from the graphically relatable videos for his age, but I even saw videos that would make great topics for my teen group sessions that I provide at work. It's really important that our kids understand the online dangers that are literally at their fingertips, and it's even more important that we educate them on how to effectively respond when facing these scenarios in real life. I look forward to sharing this information with my peers soon.


Vlog: Why Do Kids Want To Be On Social Media?

by Rachel Schell, parent of an Arkansas student

Listen to Rachel Schell (mom, business owner, professional speaker, and consultant) as she talks about her journey raising her 8-year-old daughter in this digital age and creating a social media account for the first time.


October Parent Posters: Online Etiquette

by SMACtalk for Parents

Click the image(s) to download the PDF poster highlighting online etiquette or "netiquette" and cyberbullying.


Parents: Keep an Eye on Your Child's Online Activities

by Belinda Kittrell, parent of an Arkansas student

Parents and children were optimistic for a new fall outlook only to see COVID-19 rear its ugly head. We are all missing friends and summer activities. Pandemic fatigue is a daily fight with no end in sight. This lack of normalcy has many children turning to the internet for new friends and activities. It is important that parents keep an eye on these online friends and activities. The following are a list of items that I have discussed with my daughter as the summer has worn. Everyone has an angel for their child that is why I also did my iPad history and email checks.

  1. Never share your passwords to devices, email, or social media accounts information.
  2. Be careful who you talk to online – it could be a predator.
  3. Never give them your home address and phone number.
  4. Never take and send pictures that you would not plaster on the front door of nearest church!
  5. Never agree to meet someone you talk to online.
  6. Never invite people you meet to your home.
  7. Never share when and where parents will be out of town.


SMACtalk presents "CYBERWISE"

by Mr. Steve, The Music Man

Although the song was created with elementary students in mind, we think listeners of all ages can enjoy shaking their hips to these online safety tips - a great way to get the conversation started with your family.


September Parent Posters: Introduction to SMACtalk

by SMACtalk for Parents

Click the image(s) to download the PDF poster introducing SMACtalk with "CYBERWISE" by Mr. Steve, The Music Man.