Social Summer Part 2: Digital etiquette

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How often do you find your conversation with a family member or friend suddenly interrupted by a message over a smart phone or some other digital device? Some are taking steps to mind their manners when it comes to social media. 

Christie Herron, of Excellence with Etiquette is a consultant who teaches basic social skills to teens. Its part of a program St. Vincent Health - MICI-AHEC sponsors called Hoosier Health Academy. Herron sees first-hand how teenagers can be digitally distracted. "Do I think it will get better? Absolutely not," she said.

The power of smart phone technology and social networking has clearly revolutionized the way people communicate. But a class at Butler University teaches that when these tools aren't managed correctly, they can cause irreversible damage. 

Students are learning that how they act, and what they post online can reflect on them unfavorably if they're not careful. 

Calieel Muhammad is a junior at Lawrence Central High School, who said, "Just be careful of what I, like, take pictures and who I hang around with, and the people I include in pictures and stuff like that."

Jhazibe Martinez is known as "Beebee" to her classmates. She is going to be a senior at Lighthouse Academy. She said, "I went through all my friends and started deleting people that I just did not talk to. I only have ten friends now, but that's okay because it's people that I know well."

Herron recommends parents take control to keep social networking from replacing true family time. "When we are having family time, you take the device," she said.

"You need to tread lightly and I tell parents that. It's not that I'm wanting to invade your privacy, or be in your business - none of those things. But I'm here to protect you and that's what parents need to do."

For young and old, etiquette experts warn that your desire to stay connected to the outside world can easily leave you disconnected from your friends and family.

Wednesday morning on Eyewitness News Sunrise, Julia Moffitt presents Social Media 101 for parents. She'll answer what your children are doing when they're chatting or texting with their friends.

We also want to know how you are managing your child's social media life. Send us your ideas to share with other parents by going to our WTHR Facebook page.