Devices & Social Media

First and foremost, we must better educate students about the responsible usage of cell phones, social media, and technology generally. I understand that safety and security are a concern—parents want to be able to contact their children—but cell phones should not dominate lunch and other free periods, when there is opportunity for meaningful social engagement. Cell phone usage can have an effect on student well being as there is mounting evidence that social engagement is correlated with happiness. Many parents don’t allow phones at the dinner table for this very reason. Anecdotally, a guidance counselor shared with me that 80% of the issues that cause conflict between students are the result of social media. I would call for a concerted effort to engage youth in identifying the most effective strategies to help address bullying, feelings of exclusion, conflict, etc. as they relate to social media engagement.