As you are aware, the impact of media, social media, and music, when proper controls and balanced use are not in place, negatively influence students as they make choices in their lives. Due to these technological, influencing forces, there is an increase in self-absorption among children and teens. This, in turn, is leading to less resilience, negative social behavior and bullying, and a decrease in self-image and academic success.
I am writing because I, along with my administration, faculty and staff, have a growing concern as we are witnessing the impact of these forces on our students. You may know that the area of the brain that controls executive function and sound decision making will not be fully developed until your child is in his/her mid- twenties. This is researched-based. As a result, many are not equipped to manage the 24/7 bombardment of these negative forces in their lives, therefore, it is our responsibility to provide as much help and support in this area.
As we break for the summer, I ask you to please limit your child’s computer screen time, cell-phone use, video game use, YouTube viewing, and social media engagement. Set appropriate boundaries in your home and settings on any devices they use and remain in very close communication with your child. Their devices are your devices, so feel free to be nosey. When you go out to dinner or social events with your child, make it a family rule that all cell phones must be put away as this will increase everyone’s interpersonal engagement. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the many wonderful experiences you will share with your child. If you do so, there will be no doubt that your child will have a much greater opportunity to develop healthy and wholesome habits and dispositions. If we join together as a community to accomplish this goal and remember that it does take a village to raise a child, we will strengthen as a Cushman family and reach our goal of developing students who display a strong, positive sense of self and character.
Over the summer, one of the books that the Cushman faculty and administration are reading is called Unselfie. The author, Michele Borba, Ed.D., provides great insight into the advantages of raising an empathetic child. In contrast to the “Empathy Advantage,” the pervasive use of social media seems to perpetuate a narcissistic society. It’s a powerful read.
As we plan for the upcoming school year, we will be unswerving in our effort to monitor our students’ exposure to social media while on campus and look forward to your continued partnership.
Arvi Balseiro/Head of School