Thursday, April 9, 2020

Helping Families Manage Increased Screen Time During a Global Pandemic


The spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic has created plenty of anxieties for parents trying to balance work and family responsibilities amid ever-changing uncertainties. In this unprecedented time of hunkering down and holing up, parents are relying more than ever on technology to help carry the educational and recreational load. All across the world school buildings have been shuttered and unnecessary travel is prohibited. As a result, the family home has become the school, the gym, the playground, and the office.
To carry on with instructional activities remotely, teachers are utilizing a variety of online platforms to connect with their students. We receive multiple emails each school day from our son’s teachers with activities, videos, and general check-ins. Google Classroom assignments and Zoom get-togethers are the new educational norm. While the debate about the benefits and risks of technology for education has ebbed and flowed over the last two decades, there is little doubt that screens are saving schools right now.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Association Between Social-Media Use and Depressive Symptoms

Research by Twenge, Joiner, Rogers, and Martin has indicated that there may be an association between social-media use and depressive symptoms among adolescents. However, because of the cross-sectional nature of this work, the relationship among these variables over time remains unclear. Thus, in this longitudinal study we examined the associations between social-media use and depressive symptoms over time using two samples: 594 adolescents (Mage = 12.21) who were surveyed annually for 2 years, and 1,132 undergraduate students (Mage = 19.06) who were surveyed annually for 6 years. Results indicate that among both samples, social-media use did not predict depressive symptoms over time for males or females. However, greater depressive symptoms predicted more frequent social-media use only among adolescent girls. Thus, while it is often assumed that social-media use may lead to depressive symptoms, our results indicate that this assumption may be unwarranted.

The Longitudinal Association Between Social-Media Use and Depressive Symptoms Among Adolescents and Young Adults: An Empirical Reply to Twenge et al. (2018) - Taylor Heffer, Marie Good, Owen Daly, Elliott MacDonell, Teena Willoughby, 2019

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2167702618812727

Friday, March 20, 2020

Resources for Families and Educators Facing Coronavirus Uncertainty


Dear Common Sense community,
Amid the COVID-19 anxiety, school shutdowns, work-from-home directives, and more, we at Common Sense have resources to help families and schools navigate this unpredictable time. As a parent and a teacher myself, I know it can feel overwhelming for families and teachers to adjust their plans on the fly.
Helping our communities choose media and tech that can keep kids engaged, entertained, and learning is core to our organizational mission. Whether you have kids at home or you need to develop plans to help kids learn outside the classroom, we think you'll find something useful below.
Media recommendations for entertainment
Hand-picked, age-appropriate media suggestions to keep the whole family engaged.
Resources for at-home learning
Tools to help parents and caregivers keep kids focused and learning at home.
Stress-management resources
You can always visit commonsensemedia.org or commonsense.org/education for more resources and support.
Take care,
Jim Steyer
P.S.: Here are a few ways you can support our community:
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  • Consider joining Common Sense Media Plus, our new membership program.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Good Digital Parenting While Staying At Home

Good Digital Parenting While Staying At Home

The past several weeks have turned the world on its head. Our households, communities, nation, and world are experiencing rapid change in a way we’ve never seen before. We’ve found ourselves  amidst a global pandemic and a national emergency, struggling to keep up with fear, uncertainty, and countless impacts to our daily lives.

Many schools and businesses are now closed, and parents have instantly become responsible for homeschooling kids while adapting to working remotely themselves, or  desperately seeking childcare. Everyone is doing their best to keep up with almost hourly developments at the national, regional and local levels while still taking care of their families.

One thing we know for certain is that our kids are looking to us to know how to make sense of it all. With so many of them at home and spending more time on devices for news, schoolwork or distraction, now is a vital time to start creating structure and new routines for the weeks, or even months, ahead. 

 
Further free resources you can find on our website:
Device Online Safety Cards
Navigating Social Media
The Complete 7 Steps to Good Digital

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Resources for Families and Educators Facing Coronavirus Uncertainty



Amid the COVID-19 anxiety, school shutdowns, work-from-home directives, and more, we at Common Sense have resources to help families and schools navigate this unpredictable time. As a parent and a teacher myself, I know it can feel overwhelming for families and teachers to adjust their plans on the fly.
Helping our communities choose media and tech that can keep kids engaged, entertained, and learning is core to our organizational mission. Whether you have kids at home or you need to develop plans to help kids learn outside the classroom, we think you'll find something useful below.
Media recommendations for entertainment
Hand-picked, age-appropriate media suggestions to keep the whole family engaged.
Resources for at-home learning
Tools to help parents and caregivers keep kids focused and learning at home.
Stress-management resources
You can always visit commonsensemedia.org or commonsense.org/education for more resources and support.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Cyber/Bullying Resources from the Florida PTA

From the Florida PTA ...




Prevent Bullying
Promote Kindness


A Message From Our President

We know that there are a myriad of challenges that our children face at school, at home and in our communities that impact their ability to learn and thrive. Among these, bullying continues to be a major concern of students, educators, and parents alike. Our PTAs have long been dedicated to promoting safe and supportive school environments for ALL children. We must remain active in addressing this ongoing challenge because we know that chronic and toxic bullying continues not only on the playground and in the halls of our schools, but on the way to and from school, in our neighborhoods, and most prevalently online via text and social media. We also know that bullying is not unique to children and in fact, adult bullying also occurs frequently.

Florida PTA urges its volunteer leaders and members to actively promote bullying prevention in their communities by hosting anti-bullying programs and sharing resources about bullying. Even one child being bullied is one too many. By working together, educators, parents, concerned citizens, business leaders, advocates and community members can support the implementation of bullying prevention programs, reinforce bullying prevention messages, and advocate for bullying policies to be implemented and enforced. As caring and concerned adults, we can also set the example by upholding cultures of respect and kindness.

Please review the resources listed below and reach out to Florida PTA if you need assistance in taking action to prevent bullying. Once again, thank you for all you do for our children and our communities!

With warm regards,
Linda Kearschner
President, Florida PTA



Florida PTA remains committed to supporting students, families, schools and communities in coping with and preventing bullying in accordance with the resolution against bullying adopted by National PTA in 2005.

Parents Can Prevent Cyberbullying

There is constant change in the digital world. New apps and platforms are constantly being added and no doubt our children and teens are probably the first ones to hear about them and use them. The best way to monitor your child’s on-line use is to constantly talk to them and to monitor it. Remind your child that their digital footprint can be out there for years to come, sometimes even affecting their college admissions or even employment. Establish rules and monitor their on-line use and remind them that you are doing this for their protection. Honest and open discussions with our children are the best way to help prevent cyber-bullying. If you are concerned that your child is a victim of cyber-bullying, here are some signs to look for:

·       Noticeable decrease in the use of electronic devices
·       Your child hides their devices when someone comes near
·       Your child becomes withdrawn, depressed, or loses interest in activities they enjoyed before

Visit this link to learn how parents can help prevent cyberbullying.



Adult Bullying

When we think of bullying, we automatically picture children, often with a bigger, older child as the aggressor toward a younger, smaller child who is incapable of defending themselves. What we don’t picture are adult bullies in the workplace, social settings, or our homes.

There are several ways that adults can bully one another including:
·    physical intimidation, threat, harassment and/or harm
·    tangible/material bullying using one’s formal power intimidate, threaten, harass, and/or harm
·    verbal bullying by threats, shaming, hostile teasing, insults or racist, sexist, or homophobic language
·    passive-aggressive or covert bullying where behavior appears appropriate on the surface, but takes you down with subtlety
·    cyberbullying verbal, and passive-aggressive behavior conveyed online via social media, texting, video, email, on-line discussion, and other digital formats.

Research at Duke University shows that adults who bully often have had troubled childhoods and can be victims of abuse or bullying themselves. They also suffer the worst outcomes as adults. They are much more likely to suffer from a serious illness or psychiatric disorder, abuse drugs or be convicted of felonies. If they were chronically bullied, they are likely to be more isolated, less educated and poorer.

1.   Here are several ways to handle adult bullies:
2.   Protect yourself by leaving uncomfortable situations
3.   Keep a healthy distance, and avoid engagement
4.   Keep your cool and avoid being reactive
5.   Know your fundamental human rights and recognize when they’re being violated
6.   Utilize assertive and effective communication
7.   Talk about your experience, do not be a quiet victim. In serious situations, proactively deal with the problem early on and formalize your communication by either putting things in writing, or having a third-party present as witness
8.   Effectively articulate strong and reasonable consequences

Additional resources from Psychology Today:




Bullying Resources

From National PTA:

Bullying in schools can prevent many students from reaching their full potential. Now more than ever, it is critical that all students are supported in learning and receive a high-quality, well-rounded education in a safe and healthy environment. National PTA® offers resources to help students, parents and educators prevent bullying behavior and create positive and safe school environments with supportive, inclusive peer relationships.


·    Use the Connect for Respect (C4R) Toolkit to guide your PTA/PTSA in engaging students in improving the school climate and reducing bullying.

·    Be proactive and use PTA Connected and SmartTalk resources to learn how to address online issues such as cyberbullying and social networking.




Resources From Advocacy Allies

·    Find out how bullying and school climate are related to students' mental health at the American Psychological Association.
·    Explore current school climate research and assessment tools at the National Center for School Climate.
·    Utilize Welcoming Schools resources to address gender stereotyping and family diversity in K-5 schools.
·    View sample "quick start guides" to get students engaged in campaigns promoting inclusivity and respect at Not in Our School.
·    Tap into more bullying prevention resources for families and educators from the National Association of School Psychologists.
·    Learn more about Equality Florida’s Safe and Healthy Schools Program which aims to create a culture of inclusion while countering the bullying, harassment, social isolation, and bigotry that dramatically increase risk factors for LGBTQ students.
·    Locate and join community events in support National Bullying Prevention Month at Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center.
·    Keep up with a central hub of federal resources and numerous other partners at StopBullying.gov.
·    Visit the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools for bullying prevention resources for educators, parents and youth.
·    Be sure to also investigate local resources like The School District of Palm Beach County Caring First and Orange County Public Schools Act4Change programs.
·    Learn about the latest legislation on cyberbullying and access other resources available through the Cyberbullying Research Center.
·    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has several anti-bullying resources, including a bullying app parents can download. Other SAMHSA bullying prevention resources may be viewed here.
·    And finally, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the Florida Statutes on Bullying




Florida PTA | floridapta.org
1747 Orlando Central Pkwy.
Orlando, Florida 32809


Florida PTA | 1747 Orlando Central Parkway, Orlando, FL 32809



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