Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Digital Footprint

At the beginning of every school year, students and parents are given a form outlining the rules of using school computers.  Reminders of what you can and can not do on school computers is talked about a lot during the school year, but there are still a lot of kids who forget that they have a "digital footprint" and that footprint is easy to find.  

In this day and age of everything being done online, the concept of not telling the world your business, is lost on many.  I have lost count of how many times I have been on Facebook and a "selfie" was posted and thought to myself "what are they thinking posting that online??" Now I understand free speech and expressing yourself, but ask yourself this, what are you REALLY trying to say by posting a picture of yourself just about totally naked.  Unless you are posting for PETA, there isn't a reason other than "LOOK AT ME!!!" Young adults don't fully grasp the idea that what you post online will STAY online FOREVER! I have heard kids say "but I deleted it so it is gone!" To that I say, not really gone!  In the short time you post something on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ALL your friends can see it and more importantly, SHARE IT!  You may have a change of heart and delete your post, but your friends can share the photo and their friends can share it, and it goes on and on until the whole school sees the picture.  Colleges and companies are now searching the internet to see what their applicants are posting online before deciding to accept/interview them.  

Parents:  Each year when the school form comes home, please remind you kids how important it is to be a good digital citizen. Throughout the year, our schools hold assemblies to talk about the pitfalls of doing these things, but I honestly think some kids just don't get it. Yes they have their whole life ahead of them, but the world is not as forgiving for mistakes. Don't let your kids become the next Anthony Weiner, or Geraldo Rivera.  Learn the different language that your kids are using when they are texting or on Facebook.  Do you know what idk means?  Go to this webiste to find a long list of codes that kids are using to try and keep their parents unaware of what they are doing online. http://www.safesurfingkids.com/chat_room_internet_acronyms.htm

Don't think that your child won't do it, they can and most of them will try to do it. Talk with your kid(s) and make sure they are being good digital citizens.  Let that be what stays with them as they grow, not that there is a picture out there for the world to see.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Back to School Time!

Back to school can mean a lot of things to kids. To some it means anxiety, to others excitement, seeing friends and of course NEW CLOTHES!!! So how do you help those kids who have the anxiety of going back to school? 

First, is the source of anxiety known? It could be the thought of having to get up early each morning, the fear of taking tests, not knowing anyone if their class, or the list goes on. Try talking with your child(ren) to see what the anxiety is.  Here are some tips to help your child(ren) deal with anxiety:

1.  Fear of getting up early again:  This can be helped by starting to get your child(ren) back into their school routine early.  I suggest about 3 weeks to a month from school, start moving your child's(ren's) bedtime back by 1/2 hour.  So if you child during the summer goes to bed at 10 pm, move it back the first week to 9:30 pm, then the next week 9:00 pm until you are back to your school routine.  It will help make that first week of school easier on everyone!

2.  Fear of taking tests:  That one can be tricky, as some kids just can't get over the fear of not doing well on a test.  I would suggest finding some type of calming routine that your child can do during a test or in preparation for a test.  Breathing exercises, how to do a process of elimination for multiple choice, etc.  Customize for your child.

3.  Fear of not knowing anyone in class:  Every year around the time letters are sent and received holding the precious classroom placement, parents and kids wonder if they will know anyone in their class.  Now with the invention of Facebook, parents are now posting who their child got as their teacher.  Pretty soon, your child will probably know 4-5 kids in their class!  Read the posts together to see who everyone has!  If after reading all the posts your child still doesn't know anyone, talk to other parents to see if they know anyone in the class, they may be able to arrange a play date with the 3 children.

Remind your kids what it felt like when you went to school the first day.  Let them know it is ok to be a little scared but that there are going to be many people at the school to help if there is a problem.  It is also a way to get to know new kids and make new friends!  

Not sure what to do now that your kids are in school?  Why not volunteer either in your child's classroom or in the school.  The PTO is always looking for help with billboards, cutting and counting Box Tops, photo copying, etc.  It is a great way to stay connected to your child's school and studies show that the more involved a parent is in their child's school, the better the child does in school.