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Online student safety

Local and national news have been covering a social media concern that is alarming to parents and could be harmful to students. This recent increase in online safety concerns is an appropriate time to revisit students’ online behaviors in school and at home.
 
The challenge that is surfacing involves a fictitious video character that allegedly challenges viewers to contact them via private message and then perform acts to avoid being “cursed.” These acts are said to include self-harm and extreme actions such as suicide. The initial contact for this challenge is rumored to be in YouTube clips that may originally appear to be harmless. Media outlets such as Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle have recently covered this challenge and the impact it may be having on students.
 
District staff will continue to monitor student behavior and the use of electronic devices in the school facilities, to the extent that we are able. Teachers, support staff and administrators are available to provide guidance and support to our students. Parents should also be vigilant regarding this challenge and the potential risk it poses to students.
 
An online safety guide created by National Online Safety can be viewed by clicking here. This guide includes tips for talking to students about this specific challenge and general online behaviors.
 
In addition, NetSmartz.org also has tip sheets for parents on protecting your children online and protecting your children on social media. For additional resources from the organization regarding internet safety, click here.
 
As always, if a parent or student is concerned, please contact your child’s principal.