Social media in schools

BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer

Check out any conversation at a restaurant, social function or sporting event, and the topic of social media inevitably comes up.
“I saw on Facebook,” “Did you see that tweet?” and “So-and-so friend requested me” are not uncommon conversation starters.
Social media also has its place in Clarkston Community Schools.
“As the district’s marketing director, I see social media as a useful tool for transparent, real-time, engagement with our community,” said Mary Ellen Rowe. “We have a district presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and encourage everyone in our community to join the conversation with us.”
Staff guidelines state, “Faculty and staff should not contradict the district’s mission nor violate any district policies in their public personal social media use, and are expected to maintain the same level of professionalism and transparency that they would display in the school setting.”
Social media pages and posts for teams, clubs or programs “must be in good taste and conform with district guidelines for generally accepted rules of online etiquette.”
“Likewise, we hold our students to high standards of conduct and responsible use of technology. We want them to know now, and throughout their lives, that they are accountable for the things they do and say. The digital world is no different,” Rowe said.
The district responds to all reported social media threats, which are rare, she said.
“We take them very seriously, even those that were intended as a ‘joke,’” she said. “We encourage parents to talk with their kids about digital safety and citizenship, since technology, the internet, and social media appear to be here to stay.”
Tips for parents dealing with children’s social media activity include supervision at all ages; stay updated and informed about the games and apps your children are playing, with Common Sense Media at www.commonsensemedia.org a great resource for parents; keep electronic devices in a common area where you can watch and monitor its use, not in bedrooms, the basement, etc.; know your child’s passwords and monitor any time spent on smartphones or tablets; bookmark kids’ favorite sites for easy access, so they are not navigating through sites you have not vetted; check your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges; and take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
For more information, call Staci Puzio, director of student growth, and Lori Banaszak, well-being and administrator of technology integration, at 248-623-5400.