Threatening text message scares elementary students

Full story: Nashoba Publishing
AYER/SHIRLEY -- Most adults these days are used to receiving chain e-mails, those pesky messages that either through explicit instructions or persuasive content, encourage the reader to pass them on. Full Story
more info for parents

Groton, MA

#1 Dec 12, 2010
Here is some of the information that got cut out of the article that parents may find useful. The schools are working to educate students, parents, and teachers about the latest in social media and technology so that we can all stay on top of it and help keep our children safe:

Teaching Children How to Be Responsible Users of Social Media

Town of Shirley and Shirley School District System Administrator Deb Cutter suggests that children and teenagers be taught three basic things about cell phone use:

1. Only give your mobile number out to people you know and can trust.
2. Never reply to text messages from people you do not know.
3. Make sure you know how to block others from calling your phone.

Lura A. White Elementary School Guidance Counselor Krystal Velazquez-Bergeron also recommends that children and teenagers who use texting and social networking take the time to consider the following, taken from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center's website:

- Remember, "Once you send it, you can never get it back."
- Ask yourself if a situation would be better handled face-to-face than in a text message or a Facebook post.
- Anything you are considering saying in a text message that you would not say in person is better left unsaid.
- Never go online or on your cell phone when you are angry. You may write or text something you will later regret.

Ayer Shirley Regional School District Interim Superintendent Mary Beth Hamel sees the education of young people about social networking as a partnership between schools and parents.

One beginning step the middle school has already taken, she said, is that of offering an InfoSource Learning course called "Protecting Students in the 21st Century" for grades six to eight. The course, which was co-written with the FBI and is being co-taught by Language Arts Teacher Ann Stahl and Librarian Kathryn Lyon, contains a progression of modules on topics that include: cyberbullying and harassment, identity theft, inappropriate websites, internet hoaxes, chat rooms, instant messaging, cell phones, and social networking.

Hamel said that the district is working with InfoSource Learning to create a long-range plan of action for middle school students, teachers, and parents.

"At the high school, the course 'Protecting Students in the 21st Century' will be required for students found in violation of the acceptable use policy as it relates to cyberbullying, chats, and social networking," she said.

She added that the district is exploring resources for elementary students that are developmentally appropriate, as the InfoSource curriculum is not typically recommended for students under age 12.

Although the new Massachusetts anti-bullying law focuses on how school administrators and staff can prevent and address bullying and cyberbullying, it is the responsibility of parents to be vigilant in monitoring and setting limits on their children's use of electronic devices.
WAKEUP

Northampton, MA

#2 Dec 19, 2010
if your 5 year old child is so far away from you that you feel the need to give them a cellphone for safty (SHAME ON YOU )

Since: Nov 10

Marilag, Philippines

#3 Dec 31, 2010
Chain emails shouldn't be passed to others because it's nonsense.I've been receiving some from my friends and what I do is delete them from my inbox.There's no reason for me to past it to others because I won't get any merit from it.

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