(Click here for an easy-to-read, printable version)
Mrs. Hartnett writes,
As incredible as it may seem, we are into the third month of the school year. I have such clear memories of this past summer, all the fun things I did with my family, the trip to Maine that we took…so clear that it seems as if it were yesterday. And yet, here we are, already in October, and then a quick flight to winter.
As this new year is unfolding, as I look each day at the fresh, bright-eyed faces of all of the boys in the Junior School, I am constantly reminded of the critical role that all of us, parents and schools, play in the well-being and happiness of all of our children. In addition to our educational responsibilities, each of us here at Priory must protect our children from what is noxious and ugly and connect them to what is beautiful and good and true in each other and in our world.
Children need to hear from their parents and teachers: “I love you, and I have expectations for you.” Children need time and patience and caring and consistency from the adults in their lives. It is also important for teachers to share their values with their students. Values such as honesty, integrity, justice, and honor take on a whole new dimension when they are modeled by all of the adults in a child’s life.
All of us who are involved with children need to learn about the world in which they live. We should be aware of the music they listen to and keep up to date on the television shows they watch and the social media sites they frequent. We need to be aware of the video games they play. In this way, we are able to function as a counter culture. We need to encourage our children to choose their media as carefully as they choose their friends.
Our culture has changed but the needs of children are the same. They need the respect and love of family and friends, meaningful work, appropriate challenges, and psychological and physical safety. They need identities based on talents and interests rather than appearance or popularity. They need good habits for coping with stress, and a sense of purpose and perspective. They need an awareness of others who are not blessed with their gifts and a willingness to help make the world a better place for everyone. And they need a family and a school focused in love, faith, and mutual support, confident in the love of God and prepared to face the world with joy and enthusiasm and hope.
AN INFORMATIVE UPDATE FOR PARENTS REGARDING SOCIAL MEDIA
Protecting God's Children for Adults
Facebook: Is it Still Cool Among Young People?
By Robert Hugh Farley, M.S.
Facebook has become the 21st century "brag book" for parents and grandparents to tout the photos and accomplishments of their adorable children and grandchildren. While many adults are exploring and enjoying the social networking site, where are our young people and children? Keeping abreast of how our children (or the children we serve) spend their time online is essential to helping them create proper boundaries, maintain safe and healthy relationships and avoid potential dangers. It is only by understanding the technologies used by so many young people that we can protect them.
Originally introduced in 2003 as a network for college students and alumni, Facebook is a social networking platform. A high school version was launched in 2006; at this time Facebook became widely accessible to children who must affirm that they are 13 or older (though there is no way to actually verify users' ages), only requiring an email address to register. Although other Internet social networking platforms existed prior to Facebook such as AOL (1997), Friendster (2002) and MySpace (2003), none of these platforms were embraced by the public quite like Facebook. Facebook was cutting edge, yet also extremely user-friendly and also multi-functional.
Facebook was identified as the site that one should utilize to locate old friends, keep in touch with new friends and even identify people who could be potential friends, all with a simple search feature. In some cases, popularity at school or among young people was based on the number of Facebook friends one was able to tally. As of 2012, Facebook purported to have over one billion active users.
However, just as numerous adults began to join the fun of social networking, young people seemed ready to move on to the next social media trend. For many, Facebook's long newsfeed, the public nature of comments, and very fact of their parents' participation, caused teens to look for something new.
The Expanding Landscape of Social Networking
As Facebook became less popular with young people, they turned to social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is a microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140 character text messages, called "tweets." Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing application that allows users to take pictures and videos and then share them with others.
Another reason for the trend toward new social media platforms was the progression from the use of a desktop computer to the pervasive use by young people of apps on their smartphones and tablets for social interaction. Messaging apps offer free private communication, through the use of a cell phone number, for text messaging, face-to-face video conversations and other forms of communication. Young people are able to communicate with people they actually know without using Facebook, which allows less familiar "friends" to see their social interactions.
It is also important to note the rise in popularity of the "selfie," or what some are even referring to as an "ussie," which are self-portraits taken at arm's length with a smartphone, as well as the ever-present accessibility to smartphone cameras with their instant ability to circulate images. Because selfies and other photos may be taken in an awkward or silly situation, one may not want it posted on Facebook for just anyone to view. As a result, one of the most popular photo sharing alternatives is a free cell phone app called Snapchat. This app allows one to send a selfie or other photo "snap" to a controlled list of recipients. This problematic program is different from other picture sharing applications because Snapchat photos, or even videos, will self-destruct 2—10 seconds after they are received, making it impossible for parents to know who is communicating with their teens and what they are sharing.
Today a variety of social networking platforms that are easily accessible on smartphones offer some type of anonymity that many young people seem to crave. For instance, Whisper is a free app that allows users to send short public messages anonymously and receive replies. Users post messages that are displayed as text superimposed over an image—similar to a greeting card.
Yik Yak is another free app that allows anyone to post anything without attaching themselves to a username. It does not even require a password to log in. The timeline of Yik Yak is similar to Twitter, but without the ability to post photos. It is extremely localized; anyone within 1.5 miles of an app/message can read the post. The use of Yik Yak in the middle of a high-school cafeteria could result in students within the cafeteria teasing, maligning, gossiping or even threatening someone else nearby with the bully remaining anonymous.
Highlight is an app that runs quietly in the background of a smartphone, continuously providing and also sharing information about the people nearby - about 100 yards away. When one meets someone who is also running Highlight, the two users may be able to see what they have in common. Highlight has been criticized for its ability to disclose private social networking information to strangers.
Tinder is another location-based app that gathers nearby Tinder user's 500 character profile information in an attempt to match individuals who are likely to be compatible. The app allows one to anonymously like or pass by swiping or tapping. If two users like each other then it results in a "match" and Tinder introduces the two users and opens a chat. Tinder has been criticized as being a haven for ultimately creepy exchanges and sexual encounters.
There is little doubt that millions of young people will embrace these and many more innovative apps that exist or are on the social networking horizon. Adults should not be lulled into believing that because they have a Facebook account that they are attuned to today's social networking landscape as it relates to young people and children.
Technology continues to rapidly change. Parents, teachers and all of us who are charged with protecting children must continue our efforts to stay abreast of the many new programs and latest apps that may be used by young people and child molesters seeking to manipulate and sexually abuse children.
This article above is the copyrighted property of National Catholic Services, LLC (National Catholic), all rights reserved, and is republished here with National Catholic's permission. It originally appeared on the VIRTUS Online™ website as continuing training for adults at www.virtus.org. For more information about VIRTUS Online or other VIRTUS® products and services, please call 1-888-847-8870 or email email@example.com.
Robert Hugh Farley is a thirty-year veteran of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department in Chicago, Illinois. As a highly decorated Detective, Deputy U.S. Marshal and the Supervisor of the Sheriff’s Police Child Exploitation Unit, he has over 28 years of experience investigating and supervising child abuse investigations. In 2007, he supervised the internal investigation, following sexual abuse allegations, at Oprah Winfrey’s School for Girls in South Africa. He is now an international child exploitation consultant for INTERPOL, Microsoft and the VIRTUS® Programs.
NUSSBAUM SCHOLARSHIP WINNER
Congratulations to Form I student Thomas Daniel, who is the 2016 winner of the Nussbaum Music Scholarship. Thomas played a piano piece entitled The Eternal City by Michele McLaughlin.
Please be aware that retakes for photos are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 21. If your son would like to return his original photos and have his photo retaken, please have him bring those with him on that day to return to the photographer. If possible, please return the photos in the original envelope. Any students who may have been absent on the original day will also have their photos taken on Oct. 21.
Camp O was fun. It was a prayerful, exciting, tiring, bonding experience. It was caterpillars, snakes, turtles, marshmallows, bonfires, friendships, Benedictine monks. It was hikes and rock climbing and laughing with bunkmates. It was using an outhouse and playing gaga ball. It was learning about nature and prayer and God.
One of the persons in this gaga pit is a monk. Can you guess which one?
Junior School Gift Gathering Luncheon
Form I & II Moms – Tuesday, October 25, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Gift Gathering Luncheon/Open House for Restaurant Gift Certificates hosted by Carrie Eisenbeis (Form II) and Marta Martos (Form 1) at the home of Carrie Eisenbeis 73 Fair Oaks Drive, Ladue, MO 63124. Please bring a $25+ restaurant gift certificate to one of the restaurants on the Restaurant Wish List. Make Your Reservations for the Junior School Gift Gathering Luncheon today by clicking here or reply to the evite you received via email.
Lights! Camera! Trivia!
Saturday, Oct. 29
Priory Multi-Purpose Gym
6:30 p.m. Doors Open
7:30 p.m. Trivia Begins
Come dressed as your favorite actor or have your table dress up as the cast from your favorite movie as you compete for fabulous prizes!
Beer, wine and soda provided, but make it a feast and bring your own snacks and drinks for your table.
Highlight your family or business by being a Round Sponsor for $100! Need some extra brain power? For $50 you may purchase some “Divine Help” by adding a monk to your table. Back by popular demand is our VIP table option, which includes champagne and desserts for your entire table for $50.
Don’t miss one of the most enjoyable nights of the Priory social calendar — Trivia Night!
$30 per person - Tables of 8
Movie-themed costumes encouraged
Prizes for first place, last place and best costume
To buy tickets, a table & more online, click here.
Or, download a flyer and register by mail.
Save the Date: Kendra Scott Shopping Event
Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 6 – 8 p.m. for a shopping event at Kendra Scott in Frontenac Plaza. Kendra Scott will donate 20% of the proceeds from the event to Xanadu. More details to follow.
MOTHERS' CLUB NEWS
Mass & Fall Luncheon
Wednesday, Oct. 12
Please join us for the Mothers’ Club Fall Mass & Luncheon featuring a special welcome to our new Priory mothers, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Mass is at 11:30 a.m. in the Abbey Church, followed by a complimentary lunch in the Boys’ Dining Hall. You don’t want to miss our Guest Speaker, Alumni mother and former Mothers’ Club President, Mary Ellen Voss who will talk about “The Priory Experience from a Mother’s View.” Please register online at www.Priory.org/MCFallLuncheon.
Upcoming Mothers’ Club Events
Junior School Mother & Son Mass & Lunch, Saturday, November 19, 2016. Mass in the Abbey Church at 11:00 a.m. followed by lunch in the Boys’ Dining Hall. More information to follow.
Mothers’ Club Christmas Boutique & Luncheon, Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in the Priory Multi-Purpose Gymnasium.
FATHERS' CLUB NEWS
Fathers’ Club Fall Happy Hour
Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Annie Gunn’s Restaurant
16806 Chesterfield Airport Road
Chesterfield, MO 63005
Complimentary Drinks & Appetizers
Hosted by Annie Gunn’s owner and alumni father Thom Sehnert
Priory coaches will recap the Fall Sports season and introduce the Winter Sports program.
Please register online by Monday, Oct. 31.
|Monday, Oct. 3-Saturday, Oct. 8
with a variety of
|Saturday, Oct. 8
|Please refer to the Priory website for all of the Homecoming activities and details!
|Friday, Oct. 21
||The next N 'n N
You may not agree with some of the things that your parents are teaching you now, because you don’t understand them. Maybe you think that your parents are out of date and out of touch. Maybe you think that they are too involved in what you do and make too many rules to keep you safe. But wait. Just wait. Wait until you meet people with no respect for themselves or anyone else, no manners, no morals, no values, and no self-discipline. Then you will understand more clearly and really appreciate all of the things that your parents are trying to help you with now.
I had the luxury of parents who really made me feel loved. They have been at every game I’ve played in. They have supported me and encouraged me in everything that I have ever tried. They have saved me from a lot of heartache and some really bad mistakes, even though I did not always know it, or even appreciate it, at the time. What do I owe them? Love. Respect. I owe them credit for making me successful. When they speak, I listen. I hope that you do the same for your parents. Priory student, class of 2001
Diana B. Hartnett
Director of the Junior School
Saint Louis Priory School