Ozark to Host Parent Meeting on Social Media, Sex Trafficking Nov. 14
On Nov. 14, parents and the community are invited to join Ozark School District in a Be Alert meeting discussing the realities of sex trafficking and how social media apps can play a role.
“This program gives parents insight into what their children are exposed to with access to so many online apps and resources,” said Executive Director of Student Services Dr. Kim Fitzpatrick. “Information from this program exposes the dangers of online trafficking and how easy it is for our kids to make one bad decision that can be life-changing.”
The meeting will be led by Founder and President of The Stop Trafficking Project Russ Tuttle.
“We need to change the paradigm of how a lot of parents view students and their online life,” Tuttle said. “A lot of parents just get angry with kids and they don't really understand how important online life is to a lot of students.”
Tuttle says the meeting will walk parents through different social media apps and how predators may use them to befriend teens and tweens, and it also gives parents signs to look out for if their child is being groomed and/or trafficked.
“We want to help parents find ways to keep their students safer online without feeling like they need to destroy everything related to the internet in their home, because that’s not an answer or solution,” Tuttle said.
Junior high and high school students will attend a student-based presentation on the same topic during school the following day.
“Students need a reality check of some of the dangers that do in fact lurk when they are online,” Tuttle said. “We are trying to get students and parents on the same page with two completely different presentations.”
Director of Ozark School Police Capt. Mark Deeds said Tuttle's presentation is important for both parents and students to hear.
“He gives a presentation that is very transparent, very informative and he doesn't sugar coat any of this. It's a very live look into the reality of social media, but he also doesn’t use scare tactics,” Deeds said. “I feel that this is a presentation that all parents and myself need to hear today. I think this is important information to get out to parents and children alike.”
The meeting is from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 in the Ozark Innovation Center Conference Room at 1600 W. Jackson St. in Ozark.