South Fulton parents recently gained more information on how platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be powerful engines for sending positive messages and establishing brands.

But social media also pose dangers for teens, like ruined reputations and even criminal charges, according to professionals and college students.

The stakeholders gathered at the South Fulton branch library in Union City for a workshop, hosted by Union City-based youth nonprofit Zena’s House, on the benefits and harms of websites and apps.

Nonprofit found and Executive Director Bernice B. Bronson said in a statement that social media can inform others of “opportunities, scholarships and jobs; promote businesses; bring awareness to injustices and even get your big break in Hollywood.”

The internet’s value as a tool depends on the user, she said.

“Bad behavior on social media seems to leave the most lasting impression,” she said.

Other speakers weighed in on do’s and don’ts for teens.

Participants included seventh-grade teacher and sixth- and seventh-grade counselor Davon Rainford of Renaissance Middle School in Fairburn.

Representing legal aspects were attorney Trinity Townsend, coauthor of “When the Cops Come Knockin’: An Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law.”

Bronson said his viewpoints were applicable to an increase in students uploading videos of assaults.

“Because of the workshop, one student said she was going to unfollow friends that post fights,” Bronson said.

Other participants included parent and community volunteer Kizzie Crawford and clinical psychologist Dr. R.J. Verwayne, who praised the event on her Facebook page, Ask Dr. RJ.

Parents received “tips we can all benefit from,” Verwayne said.

They include talking with one’s children, educating oneself about social media, using parental controls and setting good examples as well as ground rules.

“Friend and follow your children on social media,” Verwayne posted.

Also participating were Anfernee Morgan and Jarrell Jordan of Morehouse College, Zaakira Gallman of Georgia State University and Alexis Crawford of Clark Atlanta University.

“The college students talked with the students about how everyone has a brand and to make sure it is portraying you correctly,” Bronson said.

The workshop ended with parents and students signing a social media pledge that referred to #thinkB4Upost, a hashtag started in 2014 by California high school students.

The nonprofit, named for Bronson’s late sister, plans to hold a law workshop in 2018.

Information: 678-665-6506 or http://bit.ly/2wBZ61R

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