Last May, I sent a blog post about texting and social media. As we start the year, I am, once again, asking for your help. We value community, and we expect our students to meet our community expectations: “As a member of the St. Paul’s community, I pledge to be honest, to respect others, to take responsibility for my actions and words, to be kind and inclusive, and to help others do the same.”
For the most part, our students live the pledge, but texting and social media can be landmines.
At St. Paul’s, we try to guide your child’s media use. We discuss digital citizenship, we filter sites and content, and we ban cell phones during the school day. Yet, we frequently experience the impact of our students’ off-campus digital lives. We hear about (and sometimes read or see) mean spirited posts and poor choices.
I believe that we, the adults, must help our students make better decisions. I am not calling for a boycott of technology. But, I am asking for you to take some steps to improve your child’s physical and emotional health. My four simple guidelines. (I’ve added one since May.)
When your child goes to bed, the cell phone and other devices must go to bed. Take your child’s devices at bedtime, at least through middle school. (And, if your child is under the age of 13, he or she should not be on social media.)
Set some device free times: dinner, car rides, or Saturday mornings. Keep it simple and consistent, and find something that works for you.
Talk to your child frequently about your expectations.
Monitor and occasionally check your child’s digital footprint. Have a “no delete” policy. I feel strongly that you should use monitoring software until your child is in high school. (Check out the full list of available software and apps or start now. You can monitor, set usage times, and filter content.)
One last request…talk to other parents in your child’s grade. Can y’all agree on some group guidelines? For example, we all pledge to send our child’s phones and devices to bed when our child goes to bed. Or, we agree that we will not have Snapchat in the sixth grade. (Please!)