Social Media and Your Collegiate Student

Next week, we will welcome back to the Collegiate campus Katie Greer, a nationally recognized expert in helping young people stay safe in our technology-driven world. Although we believe that technology has a very supportive role to play in the overall education of our young people, the use of technology can also result in negative consequences. Recently, Donna Orem, President of the National Association of Independent Schools, had this to say about technology:

To stay ahead of all consequences of technology — both positive and negative — we need to keep up with the latest research and trends. We need to provide students, teachers and staff with resources that help them establish positive relationships with technology. And we need to establish far-reaching and holistic policies, tied in with our wellness goals, that help foster digital citizenship on our campuses.
We here at Collegiate agree with President Orem. More specifically, we are concerned with the exponential rise of smartphones and the concomitant use of social media by young people with smartphones. Mounting evidence suggests that this combination may be toxic for young people and may be a contributing factor to: rising levels of depression and low self-worth, interrupting of healthy sleep patterns, increasing feelings of being left out and excluded, growing incidents of cyberbullying and sexting, decreasing competency in developing meaningful relationships and engaging in person-to-person conversations, and diminishing capacity for being alone.

These are alarming trends that deserve our community’s focus and attention, and we would like to approach this as an important issue for our community to work on together.

Collegiate is committed to doing more in this area to support our young people and their families. In addition to bringing Ms. Greer back to Collegiate, we will be working with you throughout the school year, ensuring that this topic receives the focus it deserves. In this regard, please find below communications from each of our divisions offering age-appropriate recommendations and suggestions and outlining many of the initial efforts that we will be undertaking in the coming months. I ask that you take the time to review this information. I also ask that your family commit to participating in this school-wide initiative, beginning with supporting Ms. Greer’s visit next week.

As we prepare for this important dialogue, we ask that you give consideration to several important factors when providing your child with a smartphone and access to social media:
  • Child’s age
  • Rules around use and amount of screen time
  • Plans to monitor use
  • Instructive conversations on the risks of social media
  • Commitment to modeling healthy smartphone use
We look forward to partnering with our families to address this very important student wellness issue. Your support is very much appreciated.