Dear Parents and Guardians:
Like many other districts across the nation, Detroit Public Schools Community District is working to ensure the mental and emotional wellbeing of students continue to be front of mind. As a result, we are sending this reminder asking families to please monitor your child’s access to social media. In the past, there have been various social media challenges enticing youth to commit suicide. These challenges have been utilized on various phone and computer applications with a message issuing a challenge for young people to either harm someone in their family or do harm to themselves and to upload a photo as proof of the act.
We encourage our parents to talk to their children about these types of hoax and to assure them that it is fake and should not be acted out. The result can only bring harm to children and their family or friends.
Please monitor the social media sites, phone and computer applications that are available to your children by way of the internet and smart phone/tablet technology. The well-being of our students and providing pertinent information to our parents to keep them safe is a part of our commitment to the whole child. We have provided a list of tips and links containing resources to support you and your children. If you see any suspicious actions that may be related to this hoax, please call the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Police Department (313) 748-6000.
Parents and families should keep the following tips in mind when engaging with technology:
- Avoid underage use without adult oversight
- Check privacy settings
- Use filtering software
- Get to know the technology
- Create ground rules
- Limit cell phone use
- Keep the computer in a central location
- Talk to kids about online dangers
- Get to know your child’s online habits
- Urge your kids to avoid questionnaires, free giveaways and contests
- Monitor the pictures and videos your child views and posts online
- Be a good example of how to use social media
- Teach kids about an online reputation
For additional resources and support, please visit the following sites:
Family Online Safety Institute
Seven Steps To Good Digital Parenting: https://www.fosi.org/good-digital-parenting/seven-steps-good-digital-parenting/
Family Media Planning: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics
Children and Adolescents and Digital Media: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162593
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you feel your child is considering self-harm or experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential support.