From the Head of School Blog
By Laurie Wolke, Head of School
At Laurence, we care about our students' safety, their emotional and physical well-being, as well as their reputations. We believe that elementary school-age children are not developmentally ready to participate in social networks unsupervised. We also believe strongly that elementary school-age children do not need devices with texting, email, or Internet capabilities and highly recommend that parents refrain from purchasing these devices, particularly phones, for their children.
In order to support our community in making informed choices about technology use at home, we recently invited cybersecurity expert Lori Getz to speak with our 4th through 6th grade parents and students, and also offered an additional parent-only session for all parents. (Click here to view her presentation.)
Here are a few key takeaways from her recent talks:
- Social networking sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, online gaming sites, and others, set a legal age requirement of 13 for account holders in order to comply with COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act). COPPA protects children who are under 13 from data collection by websites/apps, including photographs, videos, and personal identifying information such as home address and social security number. Please be aware that if your child has a social media account, she/he has knowingly or unknowingly misrepresented their age in order to create the account and she/he is no longer protected by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
- Talk to your child(ren) about their technology use and set clear expectations. If they like to play a game or watch online videos, ask your children to show you how things work. This will help you make better decisions around the boundaries you want to set at home.
- Talk to the parents of your child(ren)'s friends about your expectations and rules for technology use at home.
- Keep all devices charging in a common area. It's the best way to keep track of who is using what. And, it's a good reminder that there's a time and place to use your tech at home.
- Balance and well-being are key. Screen-free unstructured downtime supports creativity and mental health. (For more on this topic, click here!)
- We encourage you to speak with your child about your expectations at home and to continue checking in with them. Please use the Family Media Plan and Suggested Family Media Agreements available to you through the Laurence School Parent Portal as conversation starters.