Middle School is a daunting time of life, and the advent of social media has not made things any easier. To that end, the leadership team of Rye Youth Council’s Connect with Tech Club met with parents of middle schoolers on January 22 to share insights into a world that few parents truly comprehend, and the ensuing conversation was enlightening and fascinating.
The panel of high school students shared their thoughts on whether or not social media are stress relievers or stress inducers (a bit of both), and introduced the audience to a range of social media apps that the vast majority of middle and high schoolers use on a regular basis. While most of the names sounded familiar to parents, few were versed in the finer points of app usage. For instance, many were surprised to learn about the popularity of “streaks”, daily Snapchat exchanges with friends that continue for months, even years — and the lengths kids will go to in order not to “break” such virtual proof of friendship. The teens also shared their conflicting thoughts on the Powerschool app, which allows students (and parents) to see whether a teacher has changed a grade in real time.
Given the chance to speak to their younger selves, the high schoolers all agreed that they would have pointed out that social media are not “real”, and that it is important to unplug once in a while. They also stressed the need for proper privacy settings. And their advice to parents: It’s good to set some boundaries and discuss clear expectations, but it is also important to allow students to learn how to maneuver social media on their own.
Another InSync Parent Workshop panel is scheduled for the evening of February 6 at Rye Presbyterian Church. It filled up in less than two hours, indicating a clear need for more of these kinds of discussions, and The Rye Youth Council is already on the case.
Julie Plink, Sophia Cetina, Henry Cetina, Beatrice Flynn, and Alec Jautz, members of the Rye Youth Council Connect with Tech Club