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MHS Student Leaders Share Social Media Do’s and Don't’s
As children become familiar with social media sites at younger and younger ages, the Massapequa School District’s Student Advisory Council has made it a mission to teach them about appropriate and safe use. From Jan. 27-31, more than 40 students from Massapequa High School presented to fifth graders at the six elementary schools on social media responsibility.
The Student Advisory Council meets monthly and consists of the grades 9-12 student council members and class officers, along with high school Principal Brian Conboy, Ames Campus Principal Tania Willman, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Thomas Fasano and Board of Education Vice President Jeanine Caramore. Dr. Fasano said that teaching social media responsibility has been an initiative of the council for several years, with lessons first conducted in seventh grade health classes. Recognizing that by then many students already have social media accounts, the lessons were moved to sixth grade, and last year to fifth grade.
“Social media is such a big part of their lives and it’s always evolving,” Dr. Fasano said “This is an issue that doesn’t go out of style. Our high school students want to play a role in educating others about it.”
Prior to the presentations, all fifth graders were asked to take part in a survey in which they were asked about their social media habits, such as the platforms they use and how much time they spend on it per day. With nearly 450 responses, high school student leaders used that information to shape the presentation. In groups of three or four, they visited fifth graders during their library periods. They discussed the pros and cons of several popular apps including Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
Dr. Fasano described the lessons as “structured but informal” with the different topics in the presentation sparking discussion between the elementary and high school students. He also said that the information held value for the fifth graders as they “look up to the students from the high school as role models.”
“We’re setting a good example for them,” said sophomore Bridget M., who was part of a team that presented at Fairfield Elementary School. “We understand and use social media.”
Gabriella A. added that it was an important to bring awareness to the students at a young age so they understand how their social media use now can impact their futures and don’t make “those silly mistakes” that could eventually hurt them.
In the coming weeks, fifth graders will participate in a follow-up survey about how their social media behaviors have changed as a result of the presentations. Dr. Fasano said that there will also be a social media information night for parents at the high school.