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Counseling

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SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT

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One of our biggest challenges in the counseling department is dealing with issues surrounding social media.  With the majority of our students in possession of cell phones and smart phones, the number of applications available in which they can connect with others is staggering.  Instagram, Kik, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, Facebook, Youtube, Text messaging, etc. are just a few of the phone and computer applications that middle school students use to connect with their social circles.  Unfortunately, anyone can create and use a profile on any of the various apps and communicate with your student.  We have had instances of anonymous individuals interacting with Cleveland students in an unsafe and inappropriate manner.  Cyberbullying has also become more prominent, creating an emotionally unsafe environment and disrupting the educational process. 

 

While the middle school student may be more technologically savvy than their parents, they often lack the maturity and life experiences to make safe and appropriate decisions.   At this age, it would be prudent for parents to monitor their child’s social media activity and engage in honest and open conversations. There are a number of phone and computer applications available that allow parents to monitor and track all of their student's phone and online activity. It is not an invasion of privacy, it is a safety issue!  With the level of social media engagement consistently increasing, the inherent risks that comes with digital communication rises, including exposure to inappropriate content and sexting.  Online bullying can and does lead to depression and create a multitude of mental health challenges for the middle school student.

 

As always, the best plan of action for parents is to talk openly, honestly, and frequently with your student about their social media use and presence.  They need to know that their actions online and on their smart phone becomes a permanent record and that even the most secure privacy setting is not a guarantee that their information won’t be shared.  Below is a URL to a website that provides resources and valuable information on social media and internet/phone safety:

http://www.connectsafely.org/guides-2/

The more you know, the better for you and your student!  

                                                          

SHARON TAYLOR

Counseling Secretary

 


 

 

 

Blasa Munoz

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Counselor

Students: M - Z

 

 

LINDA CAGE

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Counselor

Students: A - L