Dear Ewing School Community,
The Ewing Public Schools, like so many schools around the nation, continues to deal with complex and harmful issues related to technology and our students.
The dramatic evolution of wireless technology and the proliferation of highly advanced personal 'smartphones' over the past several years have made things even more challenging for educators and created additional problems for our students.
In the past, parents were advised to keep a computer in their family quarters that could easily be monitored, but with so many children having smartphones that enable them to connect to the internet via wireless or WIFI access, it has become exceedingly difficult to proactively supervise children’s behavior.
Furthermore, the increased use and popularity of the micro-blogging social network Twitter, the presence of cameras and video cameras on smartphones, and the existence of internet sites that are designed to embarrass and humiliate people, have combined to create many problems for schools and the students they serve.
Cyberbullying and feuds carried out on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook continue to be a problem and a source of sadness and tension. Schools have seen disputes between students videotaped and placed on YouTube. Pictures that children thought were taken in confidence have been posted to the internet or disseminated on Twitter causing distress and conflict for families.
With the power of smartphones and applications such as Twitter and Instagram, a picture that is taken secretly or purposefully has the ability to go viral through the community or even the world in moments, without a traditional computer even being involved. One of the latest developments is smartphone applications that enable children to hide or camouflage their phone and online behavior.
Please speak to your children about the dangers of the technological world in which they are living. Remind them that they should be exceedingly careful about whom they trust, and that romantic relationships that begin in middle or high school sometimes end angrily and spitefully. Reinforce that anything that they place on Twitter or Facebook is in the public domain; and that there are consequences for posted words or pictures that are hateful or harmful.
Furthermore, please be reminded that all students in The Ewing Public Schools must follow the cell and smartphone policy of the Board of Education. These items must be stowed away and secured by students unless in an area approved for use by the principal. Cyberbullying or any 'online' behavior that negatively impacts the learning environment in our schools is also prohibited. The school administration will evaluate any situation to determine if it is a violation of our student code of conduct and implement appropriate discipline if warranted.
Below is a link to our website that contains more information on cyberbullying and technological awareness. Please feel free to consult it if you so desire.
Go to: http://www.ewing.k12.nj.us - Parent Information - Internet/Technology Safety
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Superintendent of Schools