In recent years, I’ve received many concerns from families seeking advice or support regarding their childÕs use of social networking sites or text messaging. In an era when the lines between right and wrong become blurred around the use of these mediums, it is more important than ever for parents to be vigilant in their approach to their use. This includes knowing all passwords and setting appropriate boundaries for children while they are online. We all know the enormous advantages that using social media can bring to learning and engaging in the world around us. However, the downsides for a preadolescent can be just as huge. Unkind language can be prevalent whilst online, largely because a 12 year old brain is still learning to differentiate between right and wrong, understanding empathy, human emotion and how to interact with one another. At an age when the social sphere is crucially important to their sense of self, using such mediums as a primary method of socialization can lead to the perfect storm in terms of violating acceptable boundaries for peer interaction. More often than not, students also do not know what to do with the enormous amount of information they are exposed to. They can frequently misinterpret such information and feel intense feelings of exclusion for the things they are NOT involved with. A collegue shared this article entitled Eavesdropping on the 7th Grade Instagram Show , which speaks to the point well.
Please look for more dialogue on this topic as we look forward to our visit on November 10th from Assistant State District Attorney, Mr. Greg Schiller, as well as during our December 4th First Friday Coffee & Conversation. These discussions will address topics such as Internet safety, online awareness, bullying and the social emotional impacts of inappropriate online behavior. We look forward to seeing you there!