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On Boys Participating in Group Chats

On Boys Participating in Group Chats

On Boys Participating in Group Chats


Dear Parents,

I hear more and more about our boys participating in group chats with their classmates.

I wanted to educate myself on why and how they are chatting. What better way to do that than to have some conversations with a few of the boys from each grade? I now better understand the context of these group chats, but I am more concerned about how pervasive this activity has become.

You didn’t ask, but I want to share a few of my concerns for the boys of PDS.

  • It’s not so much what they are doing; it’s what they are not doing. (Face-to-face time with family and friends, academics, playing outside, improving their skills in extra-curricular activities and hobbies) In our class meetings, we always tell the boys, “You get good at what you spend your time doing."
  • Elementary boys are developmentally not ready to navigate group chatting and texting.
  • Elementary boys don’t have the level of impulse control and regulation that adults have.
  • Some boys will say something in a text that they would never say face-to-face to another boy. Texting can give boys a false sense of bravado.


More and more research is coming out about the rise in childhood anxiety stemming from always being connected socially through technology. Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and a New York Times best-selling author of The Coddling of the American Mind, will soon be publishing his latest book, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness. His research is best summed up with the following quote:

“We are overprotecting our kids in the real world and under protecting them online.”

The effects of our students being involved in group texts and online gaming chats are spilling over into the school day at PDS. We believe that PDS boys are not of the age to navigate these devices on their own. Yet, we see our boys engaged in these habits at younger ages each year.

I have attached a few of the resources I used while researching the effects of group texting on our boys. I hope you find them helpful.

In the fight with you,

Mark

Other Resources

5 Things I Learned from 5 Days in a 5th Grade Group Chat

Constantly Connected: How Media Use Can Affect Your Child

Presbyterian Day School

 ‍901-842-4600
pds.school 

4025 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111

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