The technological age has in some ways transformed the social lives of youth and young adults. Many of us who grew up prior to the rise of social media have a difficult time understanding the technology itself and an even harder time showing our children how to use technology in a safe and responsible way. Technology should be thought of as a tool. Like knives or hammers, such tools can be utilized to prepare shelter and meals, or the same tools can be used to create mayhem.
As I have read and reflected on current and recent past trends in social media, I believe that parents have primary responsibility for supervision and education of children and young adults as they engage with others on the various social media platforms. The school should and will intervene if we believe that the learning environment is being eroded through something like online bullying.
Over the past few days, I have been in contact with four local area Heads of School regarding an unfortunate and rather disturbing situation (recently addressed in a letter to parents). This situation was the catalyst for the conversations which then went on to discuss what can be some very rocky terrain. Our discussions primarily centered upon student use of social media, current trends in social media, including the role of parents and the role of schools regarding safe use of such media.
The school should intervene if school officials have reasonable grounds for believing that the safety of a student is being threatened or compromised. Also, schools should make reasonable efforts to educate students about safe use of the internet. I believe that schools should try to strengthen our partnership with parents through providing resources and occasionally hosting information and educational programs for parents. This idea was one that our leadership team began working on this summer. One such event which we have planned as an informational meeting for parents will be held in the Recital Hall on Tuesday, September 13 at 5:45 p.m. I encourage parents to join us for this meeting to become more social media savvy. I also want to share one of my favorite resources for helping parents navigate the world of technology found by visiting the link below at Focus on the Family. I hope to see you on September 13th.
Head of School