REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools officials are working to educate parents and families about the dangers of spending too much time online. Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline says what kids do and see outside of school has a significant impact on their behavior in the classroom, "Social media, when kids are really invested in that, they feel much more isolated. Through that isolation, they kind of lean into it. And it’s funny because what should connect you together actually isolates you from personal and human interaction."
He says principals report problems with kids as young as second grade, "All of them report how much modeling students are doing after social media feeds. They see something online and then they do it on the playground." Dr. Cline tells KBND News, "They have social media 'challenges,' where they go out and destroy bathrooms or they go and start a fight club. And they video these things and they’re interest, of course, is being liked on social media. But what it creates in our school environment are students that are overly aggressive, students that are imitating that as they go through it." There are also concerns about cyberbullying in what Dr. Cline calls an unsupervised space, "Kids bullying each other online; they have access to inappropriate content at a flick of a finger."
Cline tells KBND News he worries about the mental health impacts, "Kids that are involved in SnapChat and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and TikTok, it all leads to increased feelings of depression and anxiety, poor body image, loneliness. Kids are doing a lot of their communication while looking at a screen and again, they’re not talking with other adults, and the influences that are coming in can be tough."
He offers a few clues that it might be time to take a break from social media: "Kids not having fun on their feed anymore or what’s coming in is very negative, they’re spending all their time comparing themselves to other people, when sometimes posting what’s happening is more important than enjoying the moment you’re in - that can be pretty unhealthy. Kids are feeling really anxious because they don’t have their phone with them at all moments, or you notice they just have these wildly swinging moods that go up and down."
Redmond Schools partners with mental health providers to connect families with resources, if needed.