We are all aware of the undeniable reality that social media has a significant impact on the lives of middle school students today. In my everyday work as Dean of Students, I grow more and more concerned about how what happens on cell phones outside of school has an impact on our students during their school days here at Moravian. Last month, I was fortunate to participate in a webinar given by Sameer Hinduja of the Cyberbullying Research Center. Although current data confirms my concerns, the great news was that Moravian Academy is already doing so many things that he recommended to help prevent cyberbullying among our students.
The number one prevention tool is school climate, and here at the Middle School our constant programming reminds students of our school mission to create an “atmosphere of love and understanding.” Engaging students in purposeful acts of kindness through our service activities, all school reads such as Wonder, assemblies that value diversity, highlighting good deeds with our monthly Lions’ Pride Awards, and our advisory activities using the Developmental Designs approach are just some of our efforts that help create the kind of school climate every student deserves and encourages those same positive behaviors in our students when they interact on social media.
Success in preventing cyberbullying relies upon a partnership with parents. I encourage you to take a look at some resources below, which include guidelines for talking with your teen about technology as well as tips for both parents and students for what to do if cyberbullying does occur. You may even wish to explore the website of the Cyberbullying Research Center. I know I am looking forward to employing some new ideas for programming highlighted in the webinar.
Let’s continue to partner in our efforts to help students choose the path of kindness.
Below are some additional resources that you may find useful: