We at the John Glenn Middle School know that social media is beginning to play a very big role in our students’ lives. With summer vacation right around the corner, we’d like to share some tips/advice on how to keep your kids safe online as well how to use social media appropriately. Limiting and monitoring your child’s “screen time” on ALL devices is extremely important for continued brain development and overall adolescent wellness. Peer connections face to face are extremely important for building self esteem, a positive sense of self and promoting strong interpersonal communication skills needed for their current and future adult lives.
In the fall of 2016, we plan on holding a presentation for parents on how to help their children use social media safely and appropriately. The assembly will feature representatives from the Middlesex Department of Youth and will be held on October 6th from 5:45-6:30 pm, prior to back to school night. In addition, we recommend the following book to parents to gain more information on this topic: “Outsmarting Your Kids Online: A Safety Handbook for Overwhelmed Parents” by Michael Bazzell and Amber Mac.
As always, we hope that you feel comfortable contacting your child’s guidance counselor with any questions or concerns you may have or to seek additional resources.
John Glenn Middle School Guidance Department:
- Maureen McDermott
- Renee Anderson
- Corinne Amirault
- Marcy Beinert
1. Create ground rules around phones and devices:
- Phones are shut off by a certain time
- Remember who is paying the bill and who is in charge
- Discuss who has passwords (parent) to devices and ensure that you are monitoring the appropriateness of application downloads
3. Set a good example for your child with your own social media and device use.
4. Keep an open dialogue with your children. Ask them to let you know if they've received private messages from a stranger, or from someone at school who is teasing, harassing, threatening or requesting inappropriate photographs from them. Those could be signs of cyber-bullying or even a sexual predator. You would be surprised that even students’ friends will send or request photos of a sexual nature.
It's hard to know exactly how common sexting is among teens. Studies have found that about 1 out of every 5 to 10 teens — guys and girls — have sent sexually suggestive pictures. And about 1 out of every 3 to 8 teens have received them. The studies focused mainly on pictures, not sexually suggestive comments, messages, or tweets. The percentage of teens involved in sexting goes up if written sexual content is included, but it's not clear by how much. But one thing is clear: Sexting is relatively common among teens.
Get additional online safety tips and other relevant information on OnGuardOnline.gov, a great government resource for parents and teens. Netsmartz.org and KidsHealth are two other websites for parents and teens to utilize.