A Wired Family is a website made to help parents and families stay up to date with technology. Filled with collections of articles and short videos, A Wired Family helps parents keep up with the ever changing world of apps and how teens are using them. Often, the website provides a view of these apps and technology well before they are adopted by teens.
A Wired Family was created and is run by Stephen J Smith, who is currently working at Cincinnati Bell, but is a man of many talents. With over 30 years of experience in different industries, Smith has done a lot in 30 years, some of his favorite past professions include his work as a writer and director of film and video projects while working at NCR Corporation.
“It was an exceptional opportunity where technology and creativity would intersect. That experience working across the country with so many different people and technologies has helped me in my position today at Cincinnati Bell,” Smith explains.
That combination of technology and creativity has allowed Smith to also build off A Wired Family, with the SOCIAL MEDIA: YOUR DIGITAL TATTOO program. Connected through his website, this program is about teaching families about how to responsibly use social media and technology.
“Children today are the first generation that will grow up with much of their every move having been recorded either through their own will- by others or simply through the infrastructure they use. Therefore, their actions at age 15 can come back to haunt them later in life,” says Smith.
But where did this strong inspiration for family-based technology education come from? Smith explains.
Both the program and website were inspired by the suicide of a local high school student a few years ago. The young woman had sent an inappropriate photo to her boyfriend and after they broke up, he sent the photo out to many other people, which caused emotional distress for the young woman.
“After discussing the issue with our management, we felt it was incumbent on our company to help educate our community on the potential consequences regarding the misuse of social media. Following a lot of our program presentations, many parents would come up and ask me “Where can I find more information on these issues?” We thought a website was a perfect tool to continually update parents on the apps teens are using,” says Smith.
When it comes to the website itself, Smith writes all the articles and videos, with the help of Geoff Torbeck photography who records and edits the videos.
The content Smith uses comes mostly from what is seen and heard in his community. Smith himself studies technology and teen mental health issues constantly, and has spoken to over 270,000 people on those issues. He admits that his most compelling stories come directly from young people that have had bad, or sometimes great experiences with social media.
In today’s world though, there is so much content about social media, one might wonder how Smith is able to pick and choose which stories to cover.
“We have learned through the years that what is going on in other parts of our country is often different than what is actually going on in Cincinnati. To help, we surveyed over 10,000 local students on their use of apps and we use their feedback and discussions to aid in the direction of our material,” says Smith.
Most of the followers of Smith’s blog happen organically through other social media mentions, or through the result of their physical audience mentioning their program and website to friends and associates. That physical audience has also stemmed and grown from word of mouth.
The growth of this blog has happened because the audience understands what it is. Smith notes that he wants people to understand this blog isn’t about selling Cincinnati Bell products or services, but is instead his community outreach to help protect families in his hometown.
“We hope families understand that social media and technology are great tools for this generation. However, when unfettered access to such technology is given to children, the results can be tragic. We are here to help guide you along the way,” Smith explains.
For more information on the program or website itself, click here.