As educators, our job is to teach. What we were somewhat unprepared for was the work needed in response to the much-increased use of technology for our students to both engage in learning from home, and to “connect" with their friends and peers. Ironically, many students' time online is not making people feel good. Many students report the perceived need to be online (Fear of Missing Out / FOMO), and also share they don't feel close to others, and often times feel worse after having experienced something negative online, such as fighting on a group text, chat, or on social media.
As a school, we are one part of a child's network of support. Families are asked to spend time talking to their child(ren) around their experiences online, what they have observed and heard from others, which they may not feel comfortable with or know what to do about, and what help they may need.
Online time on social media and other platforms on evenings and weekends is a family focus; we support students when engaging in learning during the day and become involved when outside activities impact students' sense of safety coming to school. We rely on our working relationship with families to support the school by maintaining a vigilant level of supervision around your child's online behavior and activity.
Students do not need their phones/devices overnight. Nothing good comes from texts at 1 am. Turn off all notifications and location services on apps.
Regularly check in on your child's activities and concerns around social media.
Have parameters for screen-free times to engage in other activities.
Internet Does Have Rules of Conduct – Just Like Life
The anonymous and instant nature of the Internet makes it easy to believe people can say or do what they want without repercussions. But there are rules for safe and acceptable online behaviour.
Never treat someone online in a way you wouldn't feel comfortable doing face to face.
Never share passwords with anyone other than a trusted adult.
Never share cellphone numbers or email addresses unless you know and trust the person.
Never share personal information or photos in a chat room.
Never post, email or forward naked photos of yourself - or anyone else – to anyone.
Always stand up to bullying behaviour you see online. If you know who the sender is, let him or her know that cyberbullying is not okay with you but don't engage in responding to nasty or aggressive messages. Reach out to the person on the receiving end. Let them know that you are there and you care. Delete the message and do not pass it along.
Always talk to a trusted adult about your online relationships and what you see online. If you are being cyberbullied or concerned that someone else is, you don't have to deal with it alone.