Angry, sarcastic, and even threatening text messages or tweets – these are all becoming a daily occurrence for teachers and administrators. One school official in Maryland tells the story of the kind of “offensive and disturbing” messages he received in December related to the decision on whether to close schools due to the cold weather and now, he is asking the schools to do something about it. “We not only have to teach our kids how to handle new technologies appropriately, but we also have to model that behavior in our own communications on social media and email,” he said in the letter.
Of course, there are no easy answers. We are a society that strongly believes in free speech, but we, as parents, need to recognize that there is a big difference between texts and tweets and a handwritten letter that involves a delay and opportunities for revision, or a phone call that carries a more “human tone.” We need to emphasize this to our kids and model cybercivility ourselves.