Working Together to Keep Students Safe on Social Media
Social media can be a positive experience—giving us ways to stay connected, to share creativity, and to learn more about the world around us. Unfortunately, social media can also be used in ways that can cause harm to our community. Social media provides a wide-reaching platform that increases the impact of bullying, hate speech and other damaging behavior, which can lead to increased risk of mental health issues as well as psychological and developmental issues.
Recently, FCPS and school districts across the nation have seen an increase in social media activity related to school safety. False social media threats take an extraordinary amount of time and resources away from school administrators, safety and security, and the local police because every single threat is thoroughly investigated. Students who post fake social media threats in order to impact school operations also face disciplinary action and potential criminal charges.
Children and teenagers need to be guided in safe and appropriate ways to use social media. We encourage you to talk with your child about their use of social media and help them understand how to use it responsibly.
Review the 2021-22 Student Rights and Responsibilities document (PDF) with your child; a list of do’s and don’ts for social media is on page 12. The FCPS’ Digital Citizenship webpage is also a helpful resource for discussing safe and proper internet use.
You also now have access to tools to help keep track of your child’s activity on an FCPS device. Sign up for a weekly Parent Report, or the Internet Use Parent portal to monitor your child’s activity. Find out more and sign up for these parent monitoring services on our website.
To help keep students focused on learning while at school and reduce the potential harm students may experience from social media, the following platforms are blocked for students on FCPS network and laptops:
Please remember that if your child shares a safety concern with you, contacting the authorities should always be your first step. If your safety concern is an emergency, please call 911. The FCPS Office of Safety and Security also has a safety tip line that you can access anonymously online, by text, or by phone.
Working together, families and schools can help keep students safe and teach them to use social media in responsible and healthy ways.