Technology Safety

Technology is a big part of our lives including our children’s lives from their education to social interactions to entertainment. As parents, we are continually trying to find a balance of allowing kids to stay socially connected and current with technology, while also making sure they are not engaging in risky behavior or overusing it.

To keep our children safe online, it is important to set rules and structure around the appropriate use of technology.  Recently, the “Momo Challenge” whether it is real or a hoax, is an important reminder of how vulnerable our children can be when they are online.  Most importantly, we need to know what technologies or social media tools our kids are using. 

We encourage parents to initiate a dialogue with their children about safe online usage, including:

  • Be open and direct when discussing internet safety.
  • Create a media plan with your children. Set privacy systems on all devices.
  • Set time limits and hours of use guidelines with your children.
  • Remind children that they should not respond to or initiate contact with strangers online and immediately report any approaches or threatening behavior to an adult.
  • Explain that no one has the right to threaten or coerce them into responses or actions.
  • Explain the importance of not disclosing personal information, including photos or videos, of themselves, family members, friends, or anyone else, especially to strangers.

Here are a few more helpful links parents can access to guide them in discussing internet safety with their children:

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Mental Heath of our Students

“With the new law for mental health, I am sure the anti-bullying focus will be there but I would like to know how it will be used to reduce their stress and anxiety particularly starting at a young age so they know how to handle it when they get older.” 

Mental health of our students is an important topic for us as a school community. Today, we see noticeably an increase in the number of students with anxiety and depression in schools. Just this year, New York State has identified Mental Health Education as a priority and a new mandate for schools. As we move forward to create a consistent K-12 approach to our students’ mental health, our goal is to educate our students about mental health where they will be able to effectively recognize signs and symptoms in themselves and others and will know where to turn for help. In our schools, we address mental health through various programs, such as mindfulness, yoga, health classes, co-curricular programs, among others. We want to create learning environments that decrease negative stigmas, and encourage students to communicate and to develop healthy, resilient behaviors.

To support this initiative, we are creating a web page as a resource for our school community. “Student’s Well Being” will appear under “Recent News” on the District’s main page: www.gardencity.k12.ny.us  Information and links will be posted and included in upcoming District newsletters as we broaden our vision and knowledge.

We are grateful to our PTA for their support in bringing expert mental health speakers to our school community. Programs such as “Angst” remind us that our students need support to deal with the pressures of growing up in today’s society. The presentation has sparked meaningful conversations and increased awareness of the importance of helping our students to recognize and communicate when they are having difficulty coping with such stressors.

Here are links to recent articles that focus on anxiety, social pressures, and achievement pressures of our youths that you might find helpful:

https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/17/11/resilience-anxious-students

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/06/11/616900580/back-off-how-to-get-out-of-the-high-pressure-parenting-trap

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