“Humans of D-E” Project:
Earlier in the year, every HomeBase group was paired up with an employee of D-E and, through a series of activities, got to know their particular person better. Now, many of the HomeBase groups are planning a lunch meeting with their “Human” to be held before winter break begins. This “Humans of D-E” bonding experience gives our youngsters another opportunity to listen to understand, to show kindness, and to better understand the wonderful diversity that we have here at school.
Of Special Interest/Social Media:
Social media presents major challenges to the parents of middle schoolers. Many parents feel as though their child’s smartphone creates a barrier between them and their child’s social life that makes good parenting difficult. Social media has created a place where students are connected to peers nearly all the time, and the darker sides of early adolescent social interaction can go unchecked in this online world.
Parents often ask me if there is an app or a technical solution to these challenges. My first response is always to not look for a technical solution to what is essentially a human problem. Frequent and honest communication about the dangers of social media is critically important. Setting appropriate limits on cell phone and iPad access is also important for many students.
For parents who want an additional layer of security, I can now recommend a service called Bark (https://www.bark.us/). Bark connects to your child’s social media accounts and monitors them for potentially dangerous issues such as online bullying, sexting, etc. Because you only get alerts when Bark detects a serious problem, your child can feel like they have a basic level of privacy in their social relationships. This makes an open conversation about problems easier in many cases.
Bark is not perfect, but it can provide an additional layer of protection as parents navigate the increasingly complex world of their child’s online socializing. If parents have regular and honest conversations about their concerns, set reasonable limits on social media and device access, Bark can be an effective piece of the overall solution to raising smart kids in the age of social media.