Buzz Students Learn Social Media Etiquette

Buzz Students Learn Social Media Etiquette
Posted on 12/22/2020
Last week, Buzz Aldrin students and families were treated to a virtual assembly called Don’t Press Send, A Mindful Approach to Social Media. The program is designed to educate and empower people to use technology responsibly and with good intent.

The Buzz Aldrin School Action Team for Partnerships (SATp) began conversations about the program a year ago in the context of a school-wide climate survey. “While an overwhelming majority of students reported positive experiences at Buzz across many dimensions, one area of concern was dynamics with other students, often involving social media and group texts. This paralleled the experience of school administrators who observed smartphones playing a significant role in behavioral and disciplinary issues involving students” said Shari Bloom Stout, SATp Co-Chair. “Phones are kept put away at school, but things that happen outside of school hours come in when students bring their hurt feelings, anxieties, and conflicts into school with them.”

She continued, “As we talked about the problem, it seemed important to include parents in the solution since they control which technologies their children use. The ‘Don’t Press Send’ program is organized around a three-pronged approach, involving schools, students and parents.”

The Buzz Aldrin PTA supported the program because it felt it was important to address social media usage and cyberbullying with students and parents. “I attended the parent session and thought it was excellent,” said Mary Sue Youn, Buzz PTA President. “The speaker had the right tone of showing us the scary side effects of media usage, but also giving us some clear next steps to take with our children. I only wish every parent could have attended!”

Don’t Press Send provides children with strategies as they navigate the ever-changing technological world, by promoting kind and careful online communication, in the hope of preventing them from harming themselves or others. The program has been presented to tens of thousands of students, parents, and educators since its inception in 2013 and provides participants with the guidelines and strategies they need to safely and kindly navigate social media and technology. It has had an enormous impact nationwide and continues to educate and empower every single day.

Buzz students reacted to the lessons they learned. “The Don't Press Send program is really great because it taught me a lot about being careful before sending something and always thinking before you send something because the internet is an interesting place so you want to make sure you ask yourself how this will make me feel,” said sixth grader Samaara. “This program is very helpful because there were some things that I didn't know before and it definitely helped me.”

Another sixth grader added, “Katie (from Don't Press Send) teaches kids that they should always wait and consider how their text, post, etc. will make someone else feel. She talks about empathy a lot.”

The parents who participated were also appreciative. Specific things parents said they valued during the question/answer: Validation for those who have been restrictive from the start; specific tactics to restrict and monitor phone usage, including how to use settings to lock down phones and particular apps that allow parents to monitor activity on the child’s phone from their own device; and language to use when pulling back freedoms the child had before. “This is all very new,” said one parent “We didn’t know before how harmful it could be. Now we know.”
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