September 18, 2008

 A Message from Grand Island High School Principal Sandy Anzalone

Do you know what’s in your child’s cell phone? 

 Technology has such amazing capacity- our students are absolutely hooked on the capabilities and speed at which they can call, text, photograph, videograph or record a friend. Teachers are excited when their students create podcasts on their own. Parents are calmed when they can get in touch with their children any time of day or evening. Cell phones add an element to all of our lives that makes it so much easier to communicate with each other and have fun doing it. 

On the other hand, have you ever been in a car with 2-3 teenagers and realized that they are all “talking” and you have absolutely no idea what they are saying- because they are texting. To some extent, this is probably the way my mother felt about the 25-foot telephone cord.

 Photographs of each other - easy. With cell phones we can walk around and snap shots of anything and anybody we want. I’ve seen some fabulous candid group shots of really good friends that will last forever. They are priceless memories that might never have happened if we had to remember to bring a camera.  This ease and speed though makes it very easy for curious, young minds to take inappropriate pictures of themselves or others, press “send” and create situations where reputations and safety are jeopardized in a matter of seconds. Do you know what’s in your child’s cell phone? 

I had to laugh the other day when I asked this question and the parent responded, “I don’t even know how to turn it on!” How very true. So what can we do? 

§               Have frequent conversations with your child about phone etiquette

§               Learn how to use your child’s cell phone

§               Know the content - names, pictures, text

§               Ask to have the phone and watch their reaction. Do they take the battery out before giving it to you?

§               Review an itemized report of your child’s cell phone usage - are there patterns showing up that peak your interest as a parent

§               Are they using it during school hours?

 Today’s teenagers are no different than we were - they simply have access to so much more, so much faster. Stay safe. Enjoy being a parent.

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