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Linton Hall School Holds Teen Social Media, Texting Seminar

| November 1, 2016 | 0 Comments | Bristow Biz
Kim Karr of #ICANHELP asks a question of Linton Hall students during the student assembly.

Kim Karr of #ICANHELP asks a question of Linton Hall students during the student assembly.

Linton Hall School in Bristow held two student assemblies and one parent seminar, Oct. 19, inviting #ICANHELP to discuss teen and tween social media use, texting and photo sharing.

According to Maren Finkel, Director of Admissions, Linton Hall School decided to hold the #ICANHELP assembly to proactively address issues regarding digital citizenship with their students as well as how they can create positive digital footprints for themselves.

“We want our LHS children to know how to be responsible digital citizens in an age where they do not know life without digital media,” Finkel said.

The seminars were led by Kim Karr, founder of the nonprofit #ICANHELP, which is short for “I can help delete negativity online.” It is an organization that develops digital leaders on campus who will stand up to negativity and cyber bullying by becoming role models for positive social interactions.

#ICANHELP can also assist teens by advocating on their behalf to social media sites, when requesting they remove offensive or damaging messages, photos or videos.

Kim Karr of #ICANHELP gives t-shirts to LHS students.

Kim Karr of #ICANHELP with two LHS students.

#ICANHELP’s message to teens and their parents goes beyond advising them to follow the letter of the law in regards to media; the organization advises teens to engage in social interactions that are conducive for their safety, mental health, well-being, friendships, reputations and self-esteem.

Karr was a teacher who witnessed the rise in the pervasiveness of smartphones in the classroom. #ICANHELP evolved out of her helping students protect their teacher from a fake online profile created to slander him.

At Wednesday’s parent seminar, Karr told Linton Hall School parents to learn how their children are using social media. Parents should know which networks their children frequent. She suggested parents familiarize themselves with Twitter, SnapChat, Kik, Instagram and Vine, to just name a few.

She suggested parents know their children’s passwords and perhaps set up their own accounts on those networks. The idea is not to stalk their kids online, but to be present. A positive comment under a teen’s photo can prevent peers from posting inappropriate comments.

Karr addresses parents at Linton Hall School's evening parent seminar.

Karr addresses parents at Linton Hall School’s evening parent seminar.

She also said that parents have to be role models for their children sharing positive, not negative messages.

She told parents to teach their teens to take a social media break since anxiety and depression increase with the increased use of social media and smartphones.

Though many people assume teens are great with technology, in many cases, Karr noted, they have allowed it to take over their lives and it is making them miserable.

Karr wants young people to have the tools they need to manage their time well. She empowers them to tell friends there are going to be times when they will not be responding to texts or posts.

Parents can help by encouraging their children to set these kinds of boundaries.

“They [teens] don’t remember life before this,” Karr told parents, “You do.”

When their children see bullying online, Karr said to empower them to make a difference by speaking up. If enough teens speak up, the bully will back down. If something is very inappropriate, the sites will have to remove it.

Kim Karr discusses photo ownership with parents at the seminar.

Kim Karr discusses photo ownership with parents at the seminar.

Karr advised parents to talk to their children about more serious online issues as well, such as taking or sharing inappropriate photos. They are not only damaging to a person’s reputation, but are also likely to be considered child pornography.

She warned the audience that today’s media profile is like a resume. A negative photo or post could mean the difference between a college sports scholarship, landing a dream job, or losing those opportunities.

A damaging post could be unintentional because outsiders do not know how to interpret and inside joke and thus take it literally.

Parents can help their children make good online choices, but they should also give them some room to learn and grow. Karr suggested parents discuss online media and smartphone habits with their children. She hopes that with guidance, teens will learn to make good choices online.

Linton Hall School is a Catholic school for preschool through eighth-grade children and is a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia.

Linton Hall School invites families to attend their Open House event on Sunday, November 6 at 1 p.m. For more information, call Maren Finkel at 703-368-3157.

Linton Hall School is a premier community sponsor of Bristow Beat, helping to make our hyper-local news coverage possible. 

© 2016, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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