Social Media & Technology

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In the Spring of 2020, ESJ’s Student Services Department identified social media and technology as key contributors to student anxiety levels. Our teachers echo the sentiment and strive to incorporate technology in the classroom without losing connection to students and each other. We know technology is reaching students at younger and younger ages and it is important to include parents of children of all ages in these discussions. 

A 2020-2021 focus of our Health, Safety, and Well-Being program is to utilize the first part of a three-year grant received earlier this year from the Winston Family Foundation on Technology and Teenagers. Using the grant funding, ESJ provided an opportunity for parents from Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools to hear from renowned social media safety speaker Josh Ochs, founder of Smart Social, via Zoom in November.

The presentation covered several topics: how to ensure safety measures are in place on sites and apps (YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat) that students may be using, and tips and tricks on managing Netflix, screen time and location sharing. Following the presentation, parents and faculty were invited to become VIP (Very Informed Parents) members of Smart Social, which was also made possible with the grant funding. VIP content on Smart Social’s website provides parents, faculty, and students access to videos such as “Dangers Every Parent Should Know Before Giving their Student a Smartphone,” “YouTube App Parent Course,” “How to Set up Twitter for a Positive Impact,” “Positive Internet Comment Etiquette for Kids,” and “5 Hottest Teen Apps: What Parents & Teachers Need to Know.” 

”Our emphasis is on helping students learn how to discern when to use technology, how to assess when it is starting to dominate their thinking, and how to have the courage to make necessary changes in their interactions with technology,” said Tracy Jester, Dean of Students and Faculty Liaison for the grant. “We know technology is not going away and we want our students to be able to use it in the safest way possible that allows them to remain mentally and physically healthy as well.”

For directions on creating a free VIP account with Smart Social, email [email protected].

VIP Access on Smart Social

The Winston Family Foundation has provided Episcopal with a grant that covers VIP (Very Informed Parent) access to all of Smart Social’s content. Because of this grant, you are now able to register for a VIP account free of charge!

To receive directions on creating a free VIP account, email [email protected]