Dear Horace Mann Community,
Although we like to think the students at Horace Mann are too young for us to be concerned about their internet usage, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we must monitor their use and help them build good habits. We are swimming upstream with this aim, based on many cultural influences. Social media, in particular, has become an area of significant concern. Clearly, it has many positive attributes: increased communication, access to information, and developing a sense of self. However, there are also associated risks: exposure to cyberbullying and inappropriate content, and too much time being spent online.
Talking with your child about — and monitoring his/her use of — social media use are the most important things a parent can do. These steps embody our Project Wisdom theme for the month of April: Doing What’s Right. Although Lakewood Police Officer Acklin teaches about internet safety as part of the 5th Grade DARE curriculum each year, we know educators and parents need to be actively engaging with our kids long before then in order to promote the responsible use of social media.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, social media tips for parents include:
*Educate yourself about the social media apps *Emphasize that anything posted is out there forever
*Ask specific questions about what your child did online today *Share how you used social media today
*Check your child’s posts and be transparent about it *Talk with other parents about kids’ social media use
*Be a good role model—multitasking with devices is dangerous *Set time limits and monitor consistently
*Insist that tablets be used in common spaces of your home
If you need guidance talking with your child about social media, please feel free to contact his/her teacher, our Family Resource Coordinator or me. Educating children about this aspect of our world certainly needs a team effort.
Dr. Merritt F. Waters