Technology has fundamentally changed the world for this generation of students. Facebook, Twitter, cellphones, ipods and Xbox are just a few examples of the tools used by students to communicate, to play, and to socialize. Technology now allows our society, particularly our young people, to communicate and share personal information with unprecedented speed and breadth. Now, more than ever, it is important that parents understand how their children are using today’s tools to communicate and interact with others.
Many parents feel that their children are far more adept at using technology than older generations. However, the level of skill and comfort that children display in using technology should not be taken as a sign that they will also possess the maturity to use it wisely. The media and the justice system are filled with examples of students who have made mistakes with technology which have created distress, heartache and occasionally resulted in tragic consequences for those involved.
As Woodward Academy strives to be a national model of college preparatory education, our new mission includes an effort to create a caring community through the embrace of students, parents, faculty and staff by striving to create a warm, welcoming environment for all members of the Woodward family. Supportive relationships and mutual respect among students, faculty, staff and parents build community and promote student learning. In support of this goal, all Middle School and Upper School students sign an agreement for computer and Internet use which signifies they will not use technology in a way that disrupts the school environment, brings discredit upon themselves or the school, and that they will be held accountable for their actions.
If you choose to allow your Middle School student to open a Facebook account or use other social media, please be aware of the responsibility associated with the use of those programs. In addition, many Middle School students also have their own cell phone. This is the time, according the the American Association of Pediatrics, that you should be talking to your student about the appropriate uses of technology. Cyberbullying, sexting, taunts, threats, posting inappropriate photos and pretending to be someone else are examples of inappropriate uses of Facebook and cell phones which can result in administrative action at school.
We urge you to talk to your child about what it means to be a good “digital citizen”, to be aware of how your child is using technology in your home, and to make yourself aware of the tools available to students today.
Ed Notestine, Middle School Principal
Lee Conner, Director of IT & Auxiliary Services
A great article for parents, "Kids and social media: Guidance for parents", April 2011 by Michael Craig Miller, M.D., Editor in Chief, Harvard Mental Health Letter
Also be sure to watch this You Tube Video: "Kids and Facebook: What Every Parent Needs to Know"