Dear Sangster Community,
Every student at Sangster participates in lessons with the school counselor about how to be part of Sangster’s caring community, how to avoid bullies, how to recognize the signs of bullying behavior, and what you can do if you encounter this behavior.
My generation was safe from the pressures of peer judgment once we arrived home from school. However, in today’s world of technology, cyberspace has no boundaries. Cyber, which includes all mobile communication devices as opposed to just the internet, is a growing trend with students, particularly adolescents. Cyberbullying is another form of bullying which takes place in today’s world.
According to a series of studies conducted by the Journal of Adolescent Health, more than 80 percent of adolescents own at least one form of new media technology, which they use to communicate with one another, present information about themselves, and share new media creations. Electronic bullying peaks in middle school and is inflicted most often through text messaging, e-mails and chat rooms.
If your child has access to media communication tools, it’s not too early to have conversations about their safety. Here are some topics to get you started:
- Don’t give out any personal information
- Don’t talk to anyone you don’t know
- Use a secure password and don’t give your password to anyone
- Be careful what you post on-line
- Don’t put pictures of yourself on-line
- Tell someone if you get cyberbullied AND save the message that made you uncomfortable
- Be honest with your parents
- Don’t click on pop-ups
- Only go to sites you know are safe
- Have the device in an area of the house parents can monitor, not in student’s bedrooms
- The anonymous nature of sitting behind a computer can lead to misunderstandings and bolder statements due to being separated from seeing the results
FCPS has a digital citizenship web page with many resources: https://www.fcps.edu/resources/technology/digital-citizenship-internet-safety/digital-citizenship-families.
Common Sense Media is also another useful resource: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/social-media
Your partner in education,
Lisa M. Reddel