Monsignor Scanlan and other NYC schools take proactive approach to social media

SafeStudents Online today announced that six New York area Catholic schools have partnered with SafeStudents Online to help parents keep their children safe from threats commonly found on social media, such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and online predators. The schools are Archbishop Molloy, a co-ed high school in Queens; Monsignor Scanlan, a co-ed high school in the Bronx; St. Mary’s Elementary, a co-ed N-8 school in Manhasset; St. Dominic Elementary, a co-ed K-8 school in Oyster Bay, NY; and Fontbonne Hall Academy and St. Joseph High School, two girls’ Catholic high schools in Brooklyn.

SafeStudents Online administers social media protection programs for middle and high school grades. The SafeStudents Online platform gives parents the ability to monitor their children’s social media activity for unsuitable or potentially dangerous posts and sends alerts that allow parents to take action when necessary. The technology is designed to encourage collaboration and communication between parents and children. Parents never need to ask for their children’s passwords, and the online activity is monitored privately by parents. School administrators have no access to the content.

“We are excited to partner with SafeStudents Online to help our students become responsible cyber citizens,” said Darius Penikas, principal of Archbishop Molloy. “The program fosters discussion between students and their parents about appropriate and acceptable online activity so that inappropriate and unacceptable activity is stopped before it happens.”

Independent research shows that one in six middle and high school students who use social media have been contacted by a stranger in a way that made them uncomfortable; one in four have had an online problem spill over into face-to-face confrontation; one in three have received unwanted sexual attention online; and nine out of 10 have witnessed mean or cruel behavior online. Figures like those are a huge concern for parents and schools and the inspiration for the SafeStudents Online solution.

“Parents want to be responsible, but many have no idea how to keep up with their kids online,” said Tim Polizzi, vice president of SafeStudents Online. “SafeStudents Online partners with schools to give parents a tool to passively monitor their children’s public and private social media activity without having to spy on their children.”

Mary Ann Spicijaric, principal of Fontbonne Hall Academy, which provides the SafeStudents Online program to families of all incoming ninth graders, noted the school’s desire to help students make correct choices on social media. “As our students transition into their high school years, SafeStudents Online is a great way for parents to engage in productive, proactive conversations with their daughters about the benefits and challenges of social media platforms,” Spicijaric said. Fontbonne Hall and St. Joseph High School are two of the four Congregation of Saint Joseph schools to partner with SafeStudents Online.

The two area elementary schools, St. Dominic and St. Mary’s, will provide the SafeStudents Online program to the parents of students in grades 5 through 8. Principals of both schools applauded the proactive nature of the SafeSchools platform and its focus on fostering communication between students and families.

About SafeStudents Online
SafeStudents Online is operated by MMI Group, a Wayne, PA-based, family-run company founded in 1984 that markets and administers protection and convenience products to schools, businesses, and other organizations. SafeStudents Online provides social media protection programs to middle and high schools in five states and the District of Columbia and is rapidly becoming the partner of choice for schools that recognize the potential threat of social media and want to protect the reputations of their students and their school. Along with our technology partners, we have built a custom solution that balances protection and privacy. Our program allows schools to be proactive, providing parents with a tool that gives them better awareness of their children’s social media activity without spying. For more information, visit http://safestudentsonline.com/.

Featured image c/o Dare.org

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