Good afternoon, Parents.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season, and I would like to wish each of you a healthy and happy New Year.
I want to share some information this afternoon of a more sobering nature because I think it is important for all of us as parents to understand these new realities, and to have a discussion with our children about these topics as well. I think, truth be told, all of us as parents may be shocked with some of the realities of our children’s use of social media. To us as adults, things like sexting may seem unlikely or extremely uncommon. My experiences in the role of high school principal would suggest that as parents we may be better served being much more preventative in our parenting efforts regarding social media use rather than believing these types of issues are as uncommon as we would like to assume. To be blunt, I am aware of a number of situations where our students have been involved with sharing sexual material, and what I didn’t know is that this can expose our students to situations where they can be blackmailed–not necessarily by their peers–but literally by criminals who can use the shared explicit content for their own financial gain by blackmailing kids in the middle of the night who just want the huge embarrassment to go away.
I want to share a letter written by Deputy Eric Bushert from the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department that provides some advice for us as parents and reminds us that sexting sorts of activities can quickly have legal implications. Of course we know this is not a problem unique to Oostburg. The wide ranging implications of social media are prevalent everywhere, in every school. I simply want to encourage all of you to do what I plan to do, talk with your kids about these behaviors and how they should handle it if they are confronted with these things in their social media use. I hope you will take the time to read Deputy Bushert’s letter, and I would encourage you to have a preventative discussion with your children about this dangerous aspect of social media.
Again, all the best in 2018!