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February 20, 2013 / JaymeJ

An Open Letter to My Fellow 5th Grade Parents

I’m a mom of a 5th grader. It is one of the many hats I wear. Sometimes my hats compete, as they did today. Leading a discussion for parents titled “Children and Technology: What Makes Sense,” I often have to tell parents things that I know I don’t always follow. (Isn’t it always easier to say what is right than it is to do what is right?)

Then, this evening, I read a fantastic blog post titled “Protecting Tweens from Online Bullying.” As a technology teacher, I have heard 5th grade students talking about their Instagram accounts. I loathe to admit that I sometimes don’t speak up as quickly as I should. While I did not interject into their conversation a reminder that they really aren’t old enough to have these accounts, I did take the opportunity to discuss online privacy, account security, and how things can easily be taken out of context when posted online.

With all of this in mind, I felt compelled to send the following email to my fellow 5th grade parents:

Sending this “as a mom.” (NOT a school-sanctioned email, as that would require a reminder that Instragram and most other social media/email providers state that, “You must be at least 13 years old to use the Service.” accompanied by some statement of the school’s belief that our students should not be using such accounts.)
That said, I know that some/many of our 5th graders do have such accounts and it is in our best interest to try our best as parents to be ahead of the trends.
This blog post was shared with me today. I thought it was well written and contained good reminders for parents attempting to manage their child(ren)s technology use – http://www.allparenting.com/my-family/articles/967109/protecting-tweens-from-online-bullying

I know managing children’s tech use is tricky. No matter what I know the “right answer” to be, it isn’t always the easiest answer to give.

Good luck!

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