May 27, 2022 - Social Media Forum Follow-Up
On Monday May 23rd the district collaborated with Suffield Police and The First Selectman's office to hold three open forums for parents to attend. We hoped for a larger turnout, however in light of that we wanted to share some of the resources discussed. It is imperative that families monitor their children's Social Media Apps so that you know who your child is following, talking to and what content they are exposed to. Most issues that involve social media inappropriate usage occur outside of the school at night, on weekends and on personal devices.
A few important resources:
The Districts Social Media and Internet Safety Page: This page is constantly changing and contains the latest apps your children are engaging with, discussion topics with your children on appropriate use and helping families to re-access the access their children have on their devices.
iPhone Restriction Guide and Parent Controls
Android Restriction Guide and Parent Controls
iPad Restriction Guides
Questions that came up during events from families:
Q: How can I stay up to date on current social media trends?
A: You can check our district website (linked above) but most importantly talk to your children and monitor their phones. Randomly make sure you have the password to your child's device. Make sure the password they gave you still works to all apps that they have access to. Ask them what they use the apps for and who they engage with. Have them show you. Keeping this line of communication open ensures that when needed, you have access to everyone your child is talking to, following or engaging with.
Q: Best software / suggestions for monitoring and restricting online content?
A: It depends on the device. For families using Verizon - consider Verizon Smart Family, linked here. This app is a cost of about $5.00 a month and allows you to limit screen time, app downloads, contacts and much more. For AT&T, click here on tips to manage access from the AT&T app.
Q: Can you please provide a framework of technology curriculum that is taught to students and is it available for families to support students at home?
A: The Director of Technology along Media Specialists and Curriculum Leaders are developing an internet safety curriculum that is currently being piloted in grades 2-5. This curriculum will be fully implemented in grades 2-5 in the fall. Further information will be forthcoming on the details of this curriculum and how families can engage.
Q: If I come across something on my child's device, what should I do?
A: First, if it is life threatening, call Suffield Police. If it is of a bullying or hazing nature, please call your child's school during business hours or Suffield Police if the schools are closed. To help the investigation: Take screenshots of everything you can, write down parties involved and time of events. Many times things that could help solve these issues are deleted which makes it difficult for us to follow through with the concern.
Q: What are the legal ramifications of doing inappropriate things on social media?
A: First and foremost we must be made aware of any situation before we can determine if a crime has been committed. The language for all criminal statutes are very specific and these criteria have to be met for each part of the statute before someone may be criminal charged. The Police Department works in conjunction with the Juvenile Prosecutors in Rockville (Vernon) and the legal ramifications are determined by the Juvenile Prosecutors and the courts. We strive to use the local Juvenile Review Board (JRB) to divert kids from the system when it’s appropriate. The risks of unofficial sanctions, such as future college applications, job opportunities and reputation are just as serious and may have longer lasting impact than any court related penalties.
Q: Is there a way to anonymously report so that my child is not a "snitch"?
A: We have a anonymous reporting tool called "Say Something" on our website. Link is here. The more information that is provided the more thorough of an investigation we can do.
Q: How is the district monitoring 1:1 devices provided by the school:
A: The district has multiple monitoring solutions in place 24/7. However, we are not able to monitor your children's phones through our district monitoring.
On behalf of myself, Superintendent Van Tasel, First Selectman Moll, Assistant Superintendent Zawawi, Suffield Police Captain Palmer, School Resource Officer Kieselback and all school administration and counselors we are committed to partnering with families on these important topics.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me on any of these topics or any other technology concerns you may have. Click here to email me directly.