Technology and Social Media
Important Message To Parents And Guardians
Dear Parents and Guardians:
Locally, and nationwide, there have been many troubling incidents reported in the media regarding students’ use of the internet. In particular, it has come to our attention that social networking sites such as my space, instagram, snapchat and facebook have become extremely popular and that it is not uncommon to find underage children, like our students, registered; even though the requirements state that children must be 13 years of age for facebook and 14 years of age for myspace to register an account.
Unfortunately, at AEE, we have had our share of cyber bullying incidents related to these and other online sites. Primarily, these occurrences happen at home, after school hours, when children have access to web sites that are normally blocked in school. With this in mind, and in response to the many concerned parents who have contacted me regarding internet safety, I would like to make a special appeal to you. I strongly request that all parents and guardians prohibit their children from using facebook, youtube, snapchat, myspace, instagram and the other online meeting forums while they remain a student at the academy of educational excellence; because, as the adage states, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
It’s up parents and guardians to restrict access
Therefore, if your child has an account please temporarily disable it until she/he graduates from elementary school. These sites are not appropriate for young children, hence the age requirement, nor does the child understand the many negative ramifications of having an account. They certainly do not understand the meaning of the myriad of privacy settings nor do they know how to configure them; and these settings are constantly changing. And lastly, children don’t completely understand that once you hit that send or submit button, the information and images sent no longer belong to just them. Friends, family, colleges, future employers, and strangers all have access to and the right to view and lift any material online.
Please consider this appeal as one in which we can act together as a community. We need to take a united stand as parents, guardians and educators. The peer pressure alone that our children contend with regarding these sites is enormous and completely unfair and unnecessary.
Keeping up with changing technology: you may not be but your kids are!
We understand that it is certainly difficult to keep up with the ways that our children are using new and ever-changing technologies. Our children are immersed in a society that has become dependent on powerful computers, including cell phones, ipods, gaming stations and other portable wireless high-tech devices. Children as young as elementary students have become very savvy in the use of technology and therefore, it should come as no surprise that the internet has now become a favored forum for socializing, and is now the preferred method of communication among children and teens. Students communicate with each other on the web through email, instant messaging services, such as aim, and through blogs, which are online journals that people can read and respond to. The social networking sites in particular are very much like online diaries, where students may post personal information about themselves including their name, age and photograph, their likes, dislikes, interests and friends. Interestingly, students would not share this information with a stranger on the street but somehow feel comfortable when sharing it on the web for everyone to see. These networking sites also provide features such as instant messaging and email so that visitors, and strangers included, can communicate and have a direct discussion with your child.
Our school district restricts access to these web sites in school and we recommend that parents limit and monitor their young children’s internet access at home with their safety foremost in mind. We also encourage parents to learn about internet safety and to play an active role in discussing the issue with their children. On the other hand, AEE also restricts the use of cell phones both at school and in our school buses.
Through lessons provided by classroom teachers, we will do our best to provide our students with the awareness and knowledge they need in order to recognize and avoid dangerous, destructive, or unlawful behavior and to respond appropriately. However, it is only through a collaborative effort between parents and teachers that we will succeed in creating responsible and safe cyber citizens.
Dr. Israel I. Koppisch