March 2020 Gibbons Newsletter
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop
In this world of social media, it may be hard to believe that the Gibbons School Twitter page is the first account I have ever managed. You can’t find me on Instagram, Facebook or Tik Tok. Like many people of a certain age, I didn’t grow up with these tools that have crept into our daily lives. I had to pick up the phone to talk to a friend across town or a write a letter to communicate with a cousin in another state. My weekends were spent blissfully unaware of the world outside my own neighborhood bubble. With spring fast approaching I recall many lazy spring and summertime days wandering around my neighborhood and the Bird Street Conservation Area. It was a different time.
Now we wrestle with some difficult questions. When do I get my child a phone? What is the right age for my child to have their own Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page? When do I let them create a Musical.ly profile? The answers to these questions can be elusive. There is no road map and everyone has their own belief system. I know some parents who have given their child a phone once they turn seven. Others wait until middle or high school. There are no right answers.
At the middle school level I often dealt with issues that stemmed from a post or a picture on social media. Anecdotally, I would estimate approximately 75% of student issues at the secondary level are somehow connected to social media or made worse by its constant presence in our children’s lives. With one click of a button a student’s school experience can be made infinitely worse- and it doesn’t necessarily need to take place in school.
It’s hard to escape the pull of social media. In fact, research has shown all these platforms are designed to trigger a specific region in the brain that seeks pleasure. But there is hope. At the Gibbons School we have emphasized integrity and doing the right thing over the past month, especially when no one is watching. Additionally our school counselors focus on proper online behavior and tools for students to use to report offensive behavior.. There is certainly a lot more work to be done connected to this area. The internet can be a dangerous place for our kids. But, beginning these conversations is a start. Teaching our students to be kind, empathetic and wise consumers of technology can help uphold the values of our school community and our society as a whole.