Kia ora tātou, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei
Many of you will have read the article in last Saturday’s ODT about social media and its dangers when used wrongly to exploit people – often friends – for other people’s entertainment. Kavanagh College was not approached to make a comment about this, but if I had been asked, my reply would have gone something like this:
Teenagers growing up make mistakes. They always have and they always will continue to make the wrong decisions. We understand more about why they do this, now that neuroscience has taught us about the undeveloped frontal cortex that is too busy being re-wired at this age to be fulfilling its role in decision making. However, parents and schools have a responsibility to ensure that family and school values are wrapped around every facet of their life, so that when faced with choices, their values base influences their decision. Values and integrity shouldn’t get left behind when a young person steps outside the house, leaves the school gates, or moves into the online world. Values and integrity aren’t something you pick and choose from according to the moment. Having taught in both, I believe that being in a co-ed environment helps to moderate some of the behaviours that can occur in a single sex school. Looking after each other, having a stronger sense of what consent is and recognising the dignity in every person, is hopefully something that Kavanagh is influencing as a college of special character, because we are all made in the image and likeness of God.
I have no doubt that our young people are facing social media values decisions on a daily, if not hourly, basis. In light of the media articles, it is timely to let you know that we have been working alongside Netsafe and Linewize to put extra education and systems in place to help provide tools for online decision making. We will be holding a Community Connect evening on Thursday 29th July which is the first week of term three to support you as adults in guiding your children within the online world. We are also fortunate to have a speaker coming to talk with all our students from years 7-13 on that same day. The sessions will be tailored according to age and will give us a starting point to build on regularly as they move through school. You will also receive information in the next few weeks about a resource hub for parents that will be available for you through the school, with plenty of information to understand and deal with online challenges.