It’s the first group of its kind in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, dedicated to spreading the word about the negative effects of social media can have on people’s lives.
The Social Media Advisory Counsel was created after the events of the Steubenville rape case played out on social media. President of the group, Dave Whalen, said his goal is to advocate acceptable ways to communicate on all social media platforms.
“All the conversations, all of the angst in our community, we thought this is crazy. Something needs to be done,” Whalen said.
Fast forward two years, and now Whalen has the group assembled and is ready to spread the message about the dangers social media can create, and how to avoid them.
Weirton Mayor George Kondik said people need to be aware of the pit falls social media presents. “They need to know they can be in trouble, and that they can cause harm for not only them, but their families as well.”
Whalen said they want to be a source of good in the social media world and provide examples so people can copy that good behavior. He added it’s a good idea to ask yourself questions before sending a message, picture or video. “If you’re getting on to communicate with somebody and you have to ask yourself is that the truth, is it fair to the person I’ saying it to is it going to build good will and is it beneficial?”
Whalen is encouraging every parent to check out their web site, www.smacounsel.org, so they’re not in the dark about the social media platforms their kids are on.
The next step for the Social Media Advisory Counsel, according to Whalen, is to spread the word to schools, civic groups and organizations in the area, and possibly get law enforcement involved.