Why should I talk to your students?
Why are these talks needed?
It is not surprising there is a direct correlation between social media usage and depression/anxiety. Too much online will effect grades/relationships and brain activity. How about addiction? The addiction is real: studies have shown brain waves change and physical symptoms appear such as shaking, aggressiveness and personality changes when the phone is taken away.
I am not advocating that kids not use social media; but there must be limits and education as to how to safely use social media and how to react when something negative appears.
The brain of the middle schooler is designed to react quickly without thinking and that’s where later regret comes in. A quick, impulsive reaction to a nasty comment thrown their way will elicit a quick response that will not include later repercussions.
My talks include real-life examples of students not getting jobs, losing jobs, not getting into a college, getting kicked out of college, losing a scholarship all because of a thoughtless post.
Over the past few years I have had an activity for students in grades 7 and 8, if they choose. I asked the students to only write their gender and grade level on a 3×5 card. Then, I asked them to write any regrets they had pertaining to social media to their ‘younger self’. The writings were eye-opening. After reading over 200 answers, not ONE child wrote that they are happy they used social media, neglected family/friends or loved the drama it caused. Almost all wrote they wished they never got a social media account. All regretted an angry post as it pertained to reacting quickly to another post, ignoring real-life friends and spending too much time with ‘fake friends’, allowing their grades to slip, struggling to make it through the school day as they were awakened by their phone at night. I bring these cards with me to each school I speak at and share with all grade levels.
How does what I offer differ from other programs?
I am personable when I interact with the students. I really listen to their questions and concerns. I understand that children want to have a social media account, yet are unsure how to be safe online.
My talks are interactive within a classroom. This arena provides kids with a small, comfortable setting whereas they are more open asking questions and contributing their thoughts among a small group of peers.
My talks can meet a specific need. For example, once a teacher contacted me and said that a student had been writing mean comments to another via social media. When the offended student approached the student who made the comments, she was told that he was only kidding. I then brought the book, Just Kidding to the class to read to, and had an interactive conversation with the students.