Important Parenting Suggestions Regarding Student Use of Technology:
The Internet and its related technologies have largely redefined how we are informed and communicate. The possibilities are both amazing and troublesome. Adults generally have the experience to make better decisions concerning the problematic sides of emerging technologies. It is with this in mind that the Valley Stream Central High School District offers these suggestions to parents concerning the use of communication technologies:
- Be involved in your child’s cyberspace activities
- Sit at the computer or with them as they use mobile tech and let them teach you how they use the connectivity
- Ask them to take you to online sites they frequently visit and show you what they do at the various sites
- Let them know that anything they do “on-line” is not private and may be viewed or used by others
- Remind them that information posted on site, including messages and photos, may never be deleted.
Internet or communications based sites students commonly utilize are:
- Instant messaging services
- Social networking sites
- Multimedia posting sites
- Web pages
It might be useful for you to open up your own accounts where your children have accounts and have your child guide you through the process. If your child is under 13, you do have the option to have these accounts deleted since many of these services have an age and/or parental consent requirement.
Have them share with you all their user account names and passwords. If this is creating a trust issue, perhaps a good compromise is to have your child write down all the user account names and passwords on a sheet of paper and place this in a sealed envelope to only be opened by the parent in case of an emergency.
Make certain they have never and will never share their passwords with anyone, even a friend. Explain the risk of someone impersonating them, ruining their reputation or doing things on the Internet that can be undone.
Have them show you what they have in their profiles and pages. How do they describe themselves? Check to see if their postings are accurate and appropriate? Does it show too much detail about your child? Are they protecting and sustaining a positive reputation?
Scrutinize their friend lists on these accounts. It is very important to recognize the identity of each person. If your child doesn’t know the real name of an on-line friend, then consider that person a stranger. Request they delete and block that person.
Ask your child if they have ever been ridiculed, intimidated and/or humiliated on the Internet (cyber bullied). Encourage them to come to you for support if they are being bullied. Both of you should learn how to use the print screen option to save evidence of the cyber bullying. (Use a Search Engine for use of “Print Screen”)
Ask whether they have bullied anyone. It’s important for them to appreciate how much emotional pain can be inflicted by unkind words or images, and that the reach of the Internet makes it far more destructive. Remember that aggressive bullying is against the law. Also explain that this is a particularly difficult emotional period for many children and what may seem to be harmless teasing, can be devastating to the person being teased. Share with them that the Internet is a public forum so anything can be shared with other people without their knowledge or consent. They should be very discreet in what they say and do on-line. They need to always be vigilant in protecting their reputations. Things said and done on the internet can come back to hurt them many years later.
Have a very pointed conversation about “sexting”, the risky practice of sending sexually explicit photos and/or messages can be forwarded on to others and damage their reputation now and in the future.
Establish Clear and Enforceable Guidelines:
Establish your own family policy for acceptable computer use. List what may or may not be allowed including clear rules about time limits on the computer, smart phone or other mobile device.
- Be upfront with your child, that this policy will be enforced and monitored. Try to set a policy that respects your child’s privacy while also considering their age, maturity level and inclination towards risky behavior.
- Purchase monitoring / time control software to help enforce your family’s policy. Search “parental control software reviews” to find the latest products, features, and reviews.
- Think twice as you may allow a computer to be in a child’s private bedroom. Authorities recommend that student home computer or mobile device use be in a public area such as the kitchen or den. Since the student will likely be using a Smartphone or a mobile device, this becomes difficult.
How Much Technology and Access Does Your Child Need?
- Does a middle school child or younger possess the maturity, judgment, and social skills to use instant/text messaging and social websites responsibly? Do their peers?
- Does your child really need a cell phone, particularly with text messaging and/or photo/video features? Are they mature enough to handle these options responsibly? Remember mobile phones are available for voice only communications for use in emergency or convenience conversations. The data side is an optional and costly feature.
- When does too much technology begin to hurt a child? You need to find the right balance with other activities.
- Is it healthy for them to come home and plug right back into their social network versus having some quiet, reflective and regenerative time with their family?
Other Important Links:
Disposal of Obsolete Equipment
Periodically, the district must dispose of old, obsolete, and/or broken equipment. The process for equipment disposal is covered by the District’s Board of Education Policies Generally, public notice of specific disposal of equipment is listed on this website. Periodically, equipment that is obsolete or needs to be disposed of is listed and forwarded to the District’s Board of Education for permission for disposal. Parties who are interested in District disposed items may contact the District’s Business Office at 516-872-5610.
District Software Currently Installed in District Computers
District computers feature Microsoft Office (MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS Access and MS Publisher), Adobe Suite series and many other titles. Additionally, the Internet provides countless sites that provide useful instructional titles.
Internet Filtering at District Computers
The District’s computers incorporate Internet filtering as required by Federal and State regulation.
Research Related Online Databases
The District subscribes to several online databases that provide materials for in depth research. The information available supports various modalities by presenting information in formats including subject directories, keyword searching, journal article listings and timelines. Check with your school’s library staff for access codes and procedures.