Dear Families,

It truly is unbelievable that the school year is about to end and that our students have grown so much and have excelled in so many ways!

The summer provides many important opportunities for unstructured time for our children. During the past decade, all of us have become aware of the dramatic increases in and reliance on the use of social media by adults, teenagers and young children. As you know, in addition to the many positive aspects of this use of communication, there are also many significant perils which exist --- especially for our youngsters.

Like many parents, our District strives to inform our children of the dangers that communication via social media can pose. In an attempt to inform parents about some of the most popular social media apps, Michael Lo Gerfo, our Middle School Assistant Principal, and Romy Bennett, our Middle School Librarian and Media Specialist, compiled current information which we hope will be useful to you. Specifically, they researched some of the most popular apps, the age requirements for each app, the alleged uses for each app and the potential dangers associated with each. Necessarily, this is only a small sample of the broad and ever-growing selection of websites and apps which exist and to which our children have access on a regular basis.

It is important to note that frequently children in grades 4 through 8 access apps, like those that are cited, without meeting age requirements. Even when our children meet age requirements for access to specific apps, much less when they do not, they can be exposed to written content and to photographs which can be extremely inappropriate, hurtful and illegal. Moreover, our youngsters can also unwittingly communicate with adults who pose as youngsters.

We hope that the attached summary of apps will provide you with important information which can serve as the basis for discussion and oversight, and will help to make our children's unstructured time as safe as possible.

In the event that you have any concerns or questions regarding this issue, please don't hesitate to contact your child's Principal or Assistant Principal.

Here's hoping that the summer is fun-filled, relaxing and safe for everyone!

All the best,

Anna F. Hunderfund

Superintendent of Schools