While anonymity in social media can promote good (see the above video), with adolescents and those who prey on them, being anonymous on the web can just as easily be misguided, even abusive (see the below video). Our phones are ringing this week from parents with recent examples of social media misuse with the Brighten app. We think that it is a good idea for parents to see if their children's smartphones have this app loaded, and if so, investigate.
We read communications from other schools regularly with regard to social media as a reality of the outside world having an effect on life here at school, and our larger school operations network agrees that we live in challenging, complicated times with regard to ubiquitous social media. Going into the break following exams, the social media world will no doubt explode with images and chatter, and none of it will occur during school or on campus. However, it will involve students who return to their schools in January. In what social/mental/psychological state will they arrive? Encouraged, built up as the first video explains, or will they be belittled and embarrassed as the second video presents? Please give your attention.
As you help monitor what's going on with these lovely high tech communication devices and apps, remember: You pay the bills. You are the adults. These kids are minors. The world is often a bad place, not a neutral place. Know who your children's friends are. You don't need the school reminding you that you are responsible for your children's safety and welfare which now includes all this previously uncharted online territory. We're here to help both the boys and the parents where we can, and we really appreciate parents contacting us with their concerns.
Bottom line: these boys under our collective care require safe environments conducive to encouraging the development of strong moral character. So much good work can be attacked and undone by the thoughtless quip birthed from mean-spirited cowardice. Kids have long been tough on each other socially, but this anonymous crud can be evil. These guys are growing up fast. Let us neither be naive nor aloof to their present reality.