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Dear Parents,

At this time, we have had numerous reports form junior high students about bullying through social media. Although students are limited as to when they can use their cell-phones at school, we need your help with limiting their usage at home. Our number one priority is to keep our kids safe at school, however, teachers and administration cannot be everywhere at once. We also need parents to educate their children about how to safely use their cell-phones.

Did you know? That there are many dangers associated with teens and their use of social media. Social Media has been linked with increased lying in teens, oversexualization, encouraging teens to attempt dangerous or humiliating acts, as well as, humiliating or publicly shaming others. Social media also makes your teen a target for strangers, it is much easier to fake online than it is face-to-face. Cyberbullying has been linked to teen depression and can even result in increased vulnerability and depression into adulthood. You child can also access “adult-themed” or pornographic material at any time. As well, being on any device too long, can make your teen feel distant and disconnected.

So, what can you do to keep your child safe? The number one thing you can do is to check your child’s phone. Know what social media apps that they have. Many popular social media apps are: Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, as well as, Vines and YouTube.  Common Source Media is a good source of information for keeping up with the latest social media. Check the privacy settings on your teen’s social network. Make sure that they are set so that only close friends and family can see their profiles. Teach your teens about cyberbullying and respecting others. Talk to your teen about, “sexting” explain the personal and legal consequences of sharing electronic images or texts. Finally, lay some ground rules.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to be a positive example of how to behave online. Refrain from posting rants on your Facebook and don’t reach for your phone while driving. If we work together at school and at home, we can make a difference and keep our students safe.

Thank You,

ShaRee’ Harris

School Counselor

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