Dear Parents and Guardians,

As you may have heard, our school district has partnered with the FBI to launch the Think Before You Post campaign. Our goal is to raise awareness of the issues associated with social media and to educate students and parents about the consequences of inappropriate online behavior. As part of this campaign, I will be reaching out to you over the next few months, asking you to talk to your child(ren) about some different issues.

This month, Gwinnett County Public Schools' "Think Before You Post" campaign is focusing on online safety and privacy. Let's face it... It's a crazy world out there-- literally and virtually! From the time, children are born, parents teach them how to be safe. "Don't talk to strangers." "Look both ways before crossing the street." However, sometimes, we don't share those same types of safety lessons when it comes to online activities. It is critical for kids to understand the importance of being safe and smart online and how their activities online can have an impact on their lives. Below are a few tips from GCPS and Common Sense Media to get you started.

Talk about media and tech... Conversations about online safety can include everything from stranger danger to creating strong passwords and should be empowering rather than scary.

Have conversations about the consequences of misbehavior online... It is not OK or funny to make threats or to bully others online. In fact, it can be a crime. Often, children will say something online that they never intend or even have the means to do; however, those words can get them in trouble with the law and with their school. Also, discuss appropriate responses to social media rumors and threats... don't share it, report it!

Play, watch, learn together... Play video games, watch movies, and download apps with your children kids. Staying engaged and showing interest breeds comfort and camaraderie.

Teach new skills... Kids with tech-savvy parents have some advantages when getting up to speed on digital life. But even if you aren't a technology wizard, you still have some lessons to share. Parents can show children -- especially young ones -- how to use a mouse, do a Google search, charge a device, and so on. 

Follow their interests... You know what your child is into -- whether it's dinosaurs, Minecraft, or the latest boy band. Find cool dinosaur apps, sign your kid up for a Minecraft coding camp, or take a digital music-making class together.

Do your research... Parents who seek out high-quality content by checking reviews, surveying friends, and exploring content themselves expose their children to better stuff.

Thank you for working with us to ensure our students are smart and safe when it comes to their online behavior. Share the message... #ThinkBeforeYouPost!

Dr. Dana Pugh, Principal
 
 
Filucci, Sierra. "Here's the Secret to Raising a Safe, Smart Kid." Common Sense Media: Ratings, Reviews, and Advice,Common Sense Media, 21 Feb. 2017, www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/heres-the-secret-to-raising-a-safe-smart-kid.