STC 1:1 blog

'13 Reasons Why' - An alert

posted May 10, 2017, 9:12 PM by Mr Crispian Farrow   [ updated May 10, 2017, 9:14 PM ]

This post comes from a letter sent to parents by our VP Christine Rowlands:

Dear Parents + Guardians

You probably already know that this Netflix series is currently very topical and some students are watching it.  It is based on a book about Hannah Baker, a high school student who dies by suicide and leaves behind audiotapes about the events that led to her death. In each tape, she essentially blames her death on the actions (or inaction) of a group of peers, and a teacher.

We wanted to make you aware that the graphic scene of Hannah’s death and the premise of the narrative, is contrary to the way psychologists and counsellors believe suicide should be discussed with adolescents.

The series has very mature themes with soe violent scenes. If your daughter/son is watching this, we strongly encourage you to review it, to decide whether it is appropriate for her/him, and so you can have thoughtful discussion with your child about it. Here are some suggested talking points for you from the JED Foundation:

  • People often identify with characters they see on TV or in movies. However, it is important to remember that there are healthy ways to cope with the topics covered in 13 Reasons Why and acting on suicidal thoughts is not one of them.
  • Suicide is not a common response to life’s challenges or problems. The vast majority of people who experience bullying, the death of a friend, or any other trauma described in 13 Reasons Why do not die by suicide. In fact, most reach out, talk to others and seek help or find other productive ways of coping. They go on to lead healthy, normal lives
  • Suicide is never a heroic or romantic act. Hannah’s suicide (although fictional) is a cautionary tale, not meant to appear heroic.  It should be viewed as a tragedy.
  • It is important to know that, in spite of the portrayal of a serious treatment failure in 13 Reasons Why, there are many treatment options for life challenges, distress and mental illness. Treatment works.
  • Suicide affects everyone and everyone can do something to help if they see or hear warning signs that someone is at risk of suicide. Talking openly and honestly about emotional distress and suicide is OK. It will not make someone more suicidal or put the thought in their mind
  • Knowing how to acknowledge and respond to someone who shares their thoughts of emotional distress or suicide with you is important. Don’t judge them or their thoughts. Listen. Be caring and kind. Offer to stay with them. Offer to go with them to get help or to contact a counsellor.
  • How the counsellor in 13 Reasons Why responds to Hannah’s thoughts of suicide is not appropriate and not typical of most counsellors. Student counsellors are professionals and a trustworthy source for help.
  • When someone dies, there is no possibility that person can make a movie or talk to people any more. Leaving messages from beyond the grave is a dramatisation produced in Hollywood and is not possible in real life.


We hope these suggestions are helpful.  We have an excellent team of counsellors who are available to help with any questions relating to this, or other social, emotional and psychological issues.  


Warm wishes

Christine Rowlands

Vice Principal

Reading From a Screen Changes How You Think

posted Jun 10, 2016, 12:14 AM by Mr Crispian Farrow

A new study out of Dartmouth's Tiltfactor Lab has suggested there are differences to how we think depending on whether we've read in electronic format or from paper.  To find out more, here's a summary from Inc. 

Intel Security 'Realities of Cyber Parenting' Study

posted Nov 12, 2015, 7:16 PM by Mr Crispian Farrow

The Family Online Safety Institute recently partnered with Intel Security to produce this latest set of wide-ranging data on what children are doing online.  You can read more about the findings here.

Below is one part of Intel Security's recommendations.

Top 5 Cyber Parenting Tips to Help Facilitate Online Safety:

  1. Connect With Your Kids. Talk casually and frequently with them about online risks, and make sure the communication lines are open. Foster discussions around relevant news stories or cases at schools.
  2. Set Password Rules. To show camaraderie and trust, teens may share their social media passwords with friends or acquaintances. Friend or not, this is a dangerous practice. Put a consequence in place for breaking this critical password rule.
  3. Read App Reviews. By reading app flags, age restrictions (ranks include: everyone, low maturity, medium maturity, or high maturity) and customer reviews for an app, you will be better equipped to evaluate whether an app may be suitable for your child.
  4. Gain Access. Parents should have passwords for their children’s social media accounts and passcodes to their children’s devices which allow them to have full access.
  5. Up Your Tech Knowledge. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use, as well as creating your own social media accounts. Staying knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks is an important way to understand how they work and may help you determine whether your kids are on them.

How does sleep deprivation affect your child's grades?

posted Jan 15, 2015, 11:40 PM by Mr Crispian Farrow

Here is a thought provoking article from Time Magazine 
with some lessons for most of us.

5 myths of online student privacy

posted Sep 11, 2014, 12:15 AM by Mr Crispian Farrow

Here is an insightful article about the tricky subject of online privacy as it pertains to young people:

Click here to read the article.

Parents must consider the example they set

posted May 7, 2014, 8:13 PM by Mr Crispian Farrow

Here's an interesting piece about the importance of parents considering not only the way their children use their devices, but also the impact of themselves as role models.  It serves to reinforce one of the key messages we give parents and students: that each must meaningfully engage with the other when it comes to negotiating the media rich world we now live in.

Social Media Guidelines

posted Apr 4, 2014, 1:46 AM by Mr Crispian Farrow

NYC's Department of Education have recently published a very sensible new document, written in conjunction with students, that sets out very reasonable guidelines for using social media.  You can find the full document here.

Connecting Safely

posted Mar 20, 2014, 10:09 PM by Mr Crispian Farrow is a rich online community with a wealth of tips and resources to help parents engage with their children.  Their Online Safety 3.0 manifesto calls for an updated look at the challenges faced by young people today and offers a vision of empowered children, making sensible choices in a digitally connected world.

Sugata Mitra on technology and teaching in today's world

posted Dec 19, 2013, 11:11 PM by Mr Crispian Farrow   [ updated Dec 19, 2013, 11:12 PM ]

Here is a link to a fascinating and thought-provoking article written by Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University.  He starts by asking 'Would a person with good handwriting, spelling and grammar and instant recall of multiplication tables be considered a better candidate for a job than, say, one who knows how to configure a peer-to-peer network of devices, set up an organisation-wide Google calendar and find out where the most reliable sources of venture capital are, I wonder?'

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