One New Jersey school district is getting a lot of attention for taking a bold stance on social media.
Social media can run rife through schools — online threats prompting lockdowns, reports of bullying and even suicides.
The Manalapan-Englishtown School District hosted back to school nights this week — presenting parents with a unique proposal: lets band together to keep all kids our kids off of social media until age 13.
“Just at the presentation last night, an app in particular bothered me. It looked like a calculator and really what it is used for is to hide pictures,” said Colleen Curreri, a mom of two.
“I personally think my children are too young to be on social media.”
The district endured it’s own social media scare last march. When some older kids threatened some younger kids — telling them on an app called ‘houseparty’ that they were going to come shoot up their elementary school.
The entire cafeteria wound up in tears. Police had to come and students were told to shelter in place.
Curreri’s sons were at that school.
“I think a lot of the kids are too young to understand what was happening, so it was really scary for them,” she said.
So the district’s anti-bullying coordinator and the superintendent came up with the pledge. They chose age 13 and under — because that’s an age before most kids start to use social media.
“It had such a negative impact on the district and it was so upsetting to see kids so fearful to be in a place that is supposed to be so safe,” said Cindy Cimino, supervisor of special education and the district’s anti-bullying coordinator.
Although not all parents signed the pledge in support — the district says most parents are on board.
“If you can sit there and have a conversation with a child about sexting, porn, predator behavior,” said Superintendent of Manalapan-Englishtown schools, Dr. John J. Marciante.
“When you can have that kind of conversation with your child, then they are ready to be in that environment. That is what this is about.”