Technology, the internet, and social media have become a big part of all of our lives. From the moment we wake in the morning to the time we go to sleep, we can be overwhelmed with technology. While there are a number of positive things that come from social media use, including connections with others, the ability to communicate with friends and relatives from a distance and ways to have a creative outlet, there are several concerning things that are possible.
Over the past several years, use of social media has exploded among children. There are many challenges out on TikTok and other media sites that can be dangerous and physically harmful.
There have been news stories about “challenges” that ask the viewer to consume certain products such as large amounts of cinnamon or washing machine detergent. These challenges obviously are very dangerous.
Social media is also a place where there is generally very little adult supervision. With this lack of adult supervision comes a certain freedom children feel to say or do things that can inappropriate or hurtful to others. Before the age of social media, these things were said among a small group and were done. Now, when put on social media, they are available for anyone in the world to see-including prospective employers or college admissions representative- and can be saved forever. Something posted as a joke that could be perceived as a threat can be turned over to law enforcement, even years later. Nothing posted is ever gone.
The newest social media apps often share the poster’s location. They can tell anyone who sees a post exactly where to find the person who may post. This could lead to a possible physical encounter.
I’m sharing this information with you today not to alarm, panic, or spread of any rumors. Rather, I hope to communicate information that may be helpful to you as parents. I would also like to pass along a few simple tips that all parents/guardians can use when helping children safely navigate the internet and social media.
Basic guidelines for parental supervision:
- Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
- Keep the computer in a common area where you can watch and monitor its use, not in individual bedrooms. Monitor any time spent on smartphones or tablets.
- Bookmark kids’ favorite sites for easy access.
- Check your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges.
- Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child’s school, friends’ homes, or any place where kids could use a computer without your supervision. The Summit School District uses Forticlient to filter sites that are inappropriate for school use. Students are unable to access TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and other sites using the school’s wifi.
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange
We know our students are safe at home and we pride ourselves on creating a safe environment for your children when they are here at school. By working together, we can ensure that our school will always be a safe place for learning.
More information on monitoring social media can be found at the following website:
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have questions, please contact me at the school.