By Sue Moore
Parents often worry about their children spending too much time on their cell phones, tablets or computer but they may not be sure of what they can do about it, said Ric Seager, Schoolcraft High School principal. He discussed the issue with an audience of parents at a recent gathering to discuss the world of technology and its effect on students.
Earlier in the day, the high school students at Schoolcraft went through a day of classes related to social media. Subjects included social media safety, how the world sees a person online, cyberbullying, electronic communication through the law, screen time and your brain and an individual’s digital footprint. Students rotated through each session, met in discussion groups and finally joined together in an assembly dealing with texting and driving.
There were lots of lessons as the “take-away” for the day, Seager told the parents after they watched a movie about “Screen Agers, growing up in the digital age.” Several of the parents were concerned about the use of iPads that the school has furnished their teenagers and how to allow them to do their homework and spend less time playing online games.
Seager responded that all of the iPads go through the school’s filters. But he acknwoeldged that doesn’t stop kids from playing games on them. He cautioned that it’s important to set limitations as these devices are not going away. Those who can figure out how to manage the devices will have a big advantage over others.
“Have clear expectations for your kids. Set strong boundaries and over time you can give them more and more autonomy, which is really empowering to kids.”
“My philosophy is we don’t want technology to get in the way of good communication. Digital is great for maintenance but bad for building good communications. It’s important to look for the right balance. We need to know and understand it.”
A parent asked what the next step should be in showing their technology concerns. Seager urged them to “come to school board meetings and let the trustees know how you feel. Get more people involved. Talk to your peers and let’s pull it together.”