SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Following a story that went viral last month involving a student who posed in blackface in front of a Confederate flag, the police chiefs in Scotch Plains and Fanwood decided it was time to educate the public on responsible postings on social media. The seminar, which will take place at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in Monday, Dec. 9, will examine the use of social media by teenagers and their parents. 

"In response to way things have been going, we are trying to educate parents about posting responsibly," said Scotch Plains Police Chief Ted Conley. "We are focusing on kids making mistakes and then a mob mentality sets in that brings it to a higher level. Everyone jumps on board. It's the old-fashioned game of telephone, once a person posts something, it takes off (but the information may not be accurate)."

The presentation will have three sections:

Sign Up for Scotch Plains/Fanwood Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

  • Think Before You Post
  • Kids' Mistakes and the Mob Mentality
  • Law Enforcement Efforts to Investigate Social Media Post

"Kids sometimes don't use their heads. They get so caught up and portray themselves they want to be portrayed... then problems begin when they can't live up to it," explained Fanwood Chief Richard Trigo. "It's tough growing up these days; there's always someone with a camera and a video. There is no such thing as only sending it to a friend. Once you send a picture or video to someone, you've lost every once of control."

At the presentation, parents will learn about 

FINSTER - Fake Instagram accounts

WINSTAGRAM - Real instagram accounts

"If a parent walks by and a kid immediately shuts down their laptop, you can bet there is something they don't want you to see," Chief Trigo added.

The police will examine the dangers of posting things that put other people in danger, including putting up someone's address and instances when a harmless selfie can cause unnecessary grief.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School 
667 Westfield Rd
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

Monday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m.
Space is limited. To register for this event click here.

"Our key message is: if you see something, say something. Tell the police; don't seek instant verification on social media," Chief Trigo said. "Police often told after the chain is going. Everyone makes mistakes, but what's important is the intent behind it."

TAPintoSPF.net is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily local news source. Sign up for our free daily eNewsletter and “Like” us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.