Counselor's Corner Newsletter

January 2017 Edition 8th Grade NHS Transition Update: If you missed parent curriculum night at Natick High School, all the documents that were provided are available on the NHS website by clicking here and scrolling down to “Grade 8 Curriculum Night”.


Middle Schoolers and Social Media:  Points to Consider

Image of social media apps on mobile device

It’s okay to say “No”.

Let me reiterate.It is okay to say No.  Despite what your children are telling you, not ALL middle schoolers have phones, not ALL middle schoolers have Instagram, Musical.ly, Snapchat, etc.  (Especially in the younger grades)  It takes a good amount of emotional maturity to handle social media sites.  If your tween children are able to display this type of maturity and responsibility in other areas of their life (homework completion, hygiene routine, instrument practice, household chores, etc), they may be ready to handle the responsibility of a phone and social media.  Talk with you children about your expectations and make a plan.  


Follow the rules.

For legal and privacy reasons, children are not to allowed to open online accounts under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent.  


Besides the legal issue, maturity issues are of concern.  Children from 7-11 years old still think concretely and havent yet developed the ability to consider hypothetical situations.  According to Michael Rich, MD, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Childrens Hospital, Some kids may be ready to handle social media under the age of 13, but most probably cant.  You are the best judge of your child.”  Children who are 13 or older tend to be more developmentally ready to handle social media and will get adult help when something seems inappropriate or overwhelming.

   

Tell your kids to think before they post.

Remind them that everything can be seen by a vast, invisible audience (otherwise known as friends-of-friends-of-friends). For middle school kids, it's a good idea for parents to have access to what their kids are doing online to be sure that what's being posted is appropriate.


Kindness counts. Lots of sites have anonymous applications such as "bathroom walls" or "honesty boxes" that allow users to tell their friends what they think of them. Rule of thumb: If your kids wouldn't say it to someone's face, they shouldn't post it.  Another rule of thumb is to ask themselves, Would I feel proud if my grandparents saw this?


Make sure kids set their privacy settings and turn off location

Privacy settings aren’t foolproof, but they help.   Show your children how they work and encourage them to check privacy settings regularly, since sites' policies often change.  You do not want your childs location public, so be sure location is turned off on social media apps and on photos..


Be a “friend” and “follower”.

Especially in middle school.  Whether your child has turned 13 or not, it is a good idea to be a friendor follower.  If this creates too much conflict in your family, have a close, trusted adult friend or family member friendor followyour child.  Parents/adults can help children from doing something they will later regret.


It’s okay to say “No”.


(INFORMATION GATHERED FROM COMMON SENSE MEDIA AND PARENTS MAGAZINE)



Resources:


SNAPCHAT

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/facebook-instagram-and-social/what-should-parents-know-about-snapchat


MUSICAL-LY

https://kidsprivacy.net/2016/03/29/what-parents-need-to-know-about-musical-ly/


INSTAGRAM

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/facebook-instagram-and-social/what-should-parents-know-about-instagram


YOUTUBE

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/what-kids-are-really-watching-on-youtube


WHAT ARE THE BEST KINDS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR TEENS

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/facebook-instagram-and-social/what-are-the-best-kinds-of-social-media-for-teens


OTHER APPS AND WEBSITES TEENS GO TO

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/16-apps-and-websites-kids-are-heading-to-after-facebook



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