Community eNews

January/February 2019 - Mental Health

How does technology and the media impact mental health?

“With concerns mounting over the impact of media and technology on well-being, parents want to make sure kids are interacting in positive ways. But when kids disappear into their devices, it's hard to tell if there's cause for concern -- or not. In partnership with the Child Mind Institute, Common Sense Media offers advice and solutions for potential pitfalls such as addiction, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Learn more about keeping media and tech use healthy and positive, identifying mental health red flags, and when it might be time to step in.”

To find out more, visit Common Sense Media’s Advice for Parents about mental health and technology:

December 2018 - Relationships & Communication

How Plugged-In Families Can Have a Device-Free(ish) Holiday by Caroline Knorr at Common Sense Media

“What's topping your kids' holiday wish lists this year? Chances are it has a screen, Internet access, and games. With a little planning -- and kids' assistance -- you can balance your family's tech activities with much-needed face time. Here's how:

Be jolly -- but firm. Let your kids know that you'll be enforcing stricter time limits to create more quality family time. And tell them that the rules will apply to the grown-ups as well!

Make a list (and check it with your kids). Don't go cold turkey. Schedule some daily tech time for yourself and your kids. Get their input on which devices they absolutely can't live without, and allow some limited use.

Plan a device-free dinner. Put the phones and tablets in a basket and don't check 'em til the dishes are done. “

For more tips, read the full article at:

November 2018 - Self Image & Identity

PVSchools Digital Citizenship Initiative includes the 8 Elements of Digital Citizenship from Common Sense Media’s Lessons. Here are some tips from Common Sense Media’s Family Tip Sheet on Self-Expression and Identity:

Talk to your kids about anonymity. Just because your kids are disguised doesn’t mean they can’t be identified. They must be responsible for their actions, whether they’re portrayed as a penguin or a person.

Remember that exploration is part of growing up. Ask questions about your kids’ online identities. Why did they make the choices they did?

If your kids’ avatars or screen names concern you, talk with them. Ask questions about their choices. And don’t be too quick to worry or judge. Their identities can mean something deep, or be the result of a whim.

Identities grounded in hatred, violence, illegal activities, or risky sexual behavior should be avoided entirely. No child needs to be associated with unhealthy or unethical behavior.

Ask your kids to think about who they want to be in their online life. Is the digital identity they’re creating currently how they want to be perceived? How about in 5 years? In 20 years? Remind them that they have the power to present and control their identities and reputations.

October 2018

The digital citizenship theme for October is online Privacy and Security. This topic continues to be in the news and an ongoing concern for parents. Common Sense Media has many parent resources, including Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.

For example:

  • Is it safe to post pictures of my kids online?
  • How can I make sure my kid isn’t sharing too much on social media?
  • What should I do if I think my kid’s device has been hacked?

To find answers and learn more, visit Privacy and Internet Safety FAQ’s from Commons Sense Media.

October is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month and PVSchools is a champion organization for this campaign. For tips and resources on how to keep yourself, your family, and devices safe and secure, visit Online Safety Basics from Stay Safe Online.

September 2018

The digital citizenship theme for September is Cyberbullying and Digital Drama. This topic continues to be prevalent among students, even in elementary school. Parents want to know:

“What should I do if my kid is bullied online?”

“How can I determine whether my kid is a cyberbully?”

“When should parents intervene in a cyberbullying situation?”

“How do I protect my young child from cyberbullying?”

“What is digital harassment?”

Visit Common Sense Media’s Parent Resources for Cyberbulling, Haters, and Trolls to find answers to these questions, helpful articles and videos on this topic.