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Social Media Night

Social Media Night
Posted on 03/09/2017

By: Amy Hrobak, Upper School Guidance Counselor

Chances are that by middle school your child already possesses a savvy understanding of social media, which is a developmentally appropriate means of connecting with peers. However, without appropriate guidance and skills, utilizing social media can become a stressful and potentially unsafe communication platform for teens. In January, parents in grades 4-8 joined Amigos staff as well as Cambridge Detective Magalhaes and School Resource Officer Ortiz for a discussion around social media awareness and protection.

Cyber safety, advocacy, and bullying are discussed at a developmentally appropriate level in the Amigos Upper School health curricula. 6th and 7th graders learn how to identify, combat, and advocate against cyber bullying. In 8th grade, students learn about the social and legal implications of “sexting”, or posting negative images or comments of a sexual nature online or to peers. One of the most important preventative tools to avoid teens becoming involved in negative social media engagement is when parents talk with their teens. In this meeting, Health Teacher Patrick Kantlehner and Program Leader for Health Education and Social-Emotional Development, Kim DeAndrade focused on three talking tips when speaking with your teen about sexting:

  1. Inquire with your child to see what he/she already knows,
  2. Focus on values and feelings of privacy, and
  3. Try to come up with ideas or strategies to make healthy choices if the situation arises.

Detective Magalhaes and Officer Ortiz also offered what teens and parents should do from a legal perspective if they encounter sexting. Police take sexting seriously, and shared that it is important to inform teens that once an image or communication is posted, it is no longer one’s personal information and can be shared with others. If your teen receives or sends a social media photo or interaction that you believe is sexting, parents are advised to report this information to police staff. The more parents communicate with their teens as well as other parents regarding health social media interactions, they more empowered, safe, and skillful teens will become in their social-media communication.