At Parents’ Night for the Middle School, there was an optional informational session on social media. It was a brief summary of what apps the middlers are using, the pros and cons of social media, and the Middle School position on students use of social media. Shared below are the slides used during the evening presentation, including resources and a video from 60 Minutes. Also included in the presentation slides are some parenting tips that may be useful at home and with a student(s).
Our friends at The Swain School extended an invitation to Moravian Academy families to their free viewing of “LIKE” on February 27th at 7:00 pm.
A film by Indie Flix, “LIKE” is an IndieFlix Original documentary and series that explores the impact of social media on our lives. The goal of the film is to show that social media is a tool and social platforms are a place to connect, share and care but is that what’s really happening? Technology is here to stay.
By understanding the effects of technology and social media on the brain, on our lives and on our civilization we can learn how to navigate it more safely together. Swain is hosting a showing to inspire people of all ages but especially kids to self regulate. It’s not about blame. It’s about looking in the mirror and empowering ourselves to create balance in our lives and to learn to be there for each other.
Learn more and register for the free event here.
Smartphones emerged in the mid-1990s, including the first iPhone which was released on June 29, 2007. Since their release, the world has changed. Have you noticed how more people now walk with heads down and their eyes on a phone or how we quickly reach for a phone (or another digital device) during a moment of downtime? I must admit, I am guilty of this, too. Smartphones are a transformative device. We have information at our fingertips that we didn’t have before. There are many benefits, such as being able to access facts quickly, view maps for directions, and pay using a phone at a register. There are also challenges with living in a digital culture.
In a recent NPR article entitled “Smartphone Detox” published to Mindshift, an online platform that explores the future of learning and examines how learning is changing, the author reminds the reader of psychologist Ivan Pavlov who is famous for completing a series of experiments using sounds with dogs and feeding times. If a sound was played the dogs eventually learned that it was time to eat. Hearing the sound led to an immediate reaction by the dog. The author makes a comparison to Pavlov and the sounds associated with phones in the modern world. I found this connection to be very interesting and also quite true. I’ve seen it in my own home, but also in many public places such as restaurants, the train station, and even religious ceremonies. David Greenfield, a professor at the University of Connecticut says, “Smartphone notifications have turned us all into Pavlov’s dogs.” We get pleasure from hearing that an email, tweet, text, Facebook post, or Instagram message has been sent to our digital device. Greenfield goes on to say that adults check their phones “50 to 300 times each day.” Wow! These numbers are staggering.
What can we do? Consider a “digital detox” for a period of time. Put down the devices. Turn them off and not just to vibrate or silent. Disconnect from the world. This detox can be helpful for people of all ages. Instead, create family time to play together, to exercise together, to have boardgame time together, to enjoy a family meal together, or to do some community service work together. There are lots of things we can do without our devices.
As we march forward towards the winter season and the celebration of holidays, keep this in mind. Time spent with family and friends does not have to center around handheld digital devices. Consider adding a “digital detox” into your regular routines during this season and throughout the remainder of the year. You may find it has wide-ranging benefits and draws your family and friends closer.
Parents, I am asking for your partnership with an important item…cell phones and social media use. As you may have seen, there are a few Comenius Corner posts online sharing some information related to student cell phone use and social media. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to explore the blog.
I’d like to enlist your help by requesting that you check your child’s phones periodically and/or follow your son/daughter if you allow them to have a social media account. Please be involved in their digital lives and partner with your child(ren) as they learn about the power of these devices and how they can be helpful, but also harmful. Social media can be a very powerful and wonderful tool when used properly.
This morning, Mrs. Riker, Dean of Students, shared with students that, “We all have a responsibility to continue to create a great Middle School community even when we’re not here at school. We all know that your social world in school continues to be active after school through your cell phones. Social media is a powerful tool, and when it isn’t used for good and instead is used to hurt and to cause conflict, although those actions take place outside of school they actually impact the real, daily lives of our students here at school.“
We explore empathy and treating one another with kindness in our advisory programming, as well as in our Health and Wellness classes. Empathy is also a mission skill and is present in each academic class on our campus. You may recall the signs around the school during last evening’s Parent Night that ask you to think before you take action on social media. T-H-I-N-K: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? The vast majority of our students are working every day to create a school where we can all feel safe, valued, and respected.
The Middle School’s stance has been that when social media posts begin to impact the life of a student on campus that we will become involved. Both Mrs. Riker and I are eager to partner with you at any point as you navigate cell phones and student use. Safe practices on cell phones are important, and your partnership will be most helpful.
In early March, a post was shared on Comenius Corner on social media usage by teenagers, which provided some guidelines for parents along with some statistics. As a follow up to this posting, there are some additional resources shared below.
It’s hard to believe that only a few short years ago social media consisted primarily of Facebook. Today, there is a slew of options for our students. Whether it’s Instagram, SnapChat, Tumblr, YikYak, AskFM, WhatsApp, or Twitter many of our students are using social media already or just getting started learning how to interface with it. In a recent study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics social media use continues to rise. According to this study, 75% of teens own a phone with 22% of teens logging into their favorite social media site more than 10 times per day.
Parenting magazine recently published a list of tips that every parent should keep in mind.
- No underage Facebooking
- Check your child’s privacy settings
- Use filtering software
- Create ground rules as a family
- Get to know your child’s online habits
- Keep the computer in a central location in the home
- Urge your kids to avoid online surveys and questionnaires from people they do not know
- Monitor the images your child(ren) posts online
- Model appropriate social media use for your child(ren)
- Limit cell phone use
- Teach kids about an online reputation
- Talk to your child about online dangers
- Get to know the technology your child(ren) are using
In an era where there is more information in our pocket than ever before, please continue to talk with your child(ren) about their social media use and remaining safe online.