What are your kids saying?

CAVENDISH, Vt. – Social media, when not used properly, can be a terrible thing!

This week we have had an uncharacteristically large number of students involved in negative social situations. While investigating issues, we have discovered that several students have Instagram and/or Snapshot accounts and have been “texting” some very inappropriate messages to each other. Shocking may be a better way to describe the language and the things some of the students have been writing.

There are age requirements for these social media accounts, but we know that students still have access … perhaps sometimes with parent knowledge. There are reasons for the age requirement. Among the top is younger students do not have the savvy to use the media appropriately. They say inappropriate things, use vulgar language and even bully one another. What could be a positive communication tool has just the opposite effect, both outside and inside the school. Please note the statements of two of the most common social media tools.

Instagram requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit maybe higher). If your child is younger than 13 and created an account on Instagram, you can show them how to delete their account.

In compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the full interactive version of Snapchat is meant for people ages 13 or older. COPPA prohibits commercial sites and apps from collecting personally identifiable information from children under 13, which includes photographs.

Please – if you are allowing your child to have one of these accounts, check it regularly. You might be very surprised at what you find there. You, as the parent, should always monitor and delete these accounts if you find they are misusing them.

The Cavendish Corner newsletter, Cavendish Town Elementary School, ctes.trsu.org.

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