High School Media Guidelines

The High School media guidelines recognize that it is appropriate that fifteen to nineteen year-olds critically approach and effectively use media. The education of proper use of media and internet for research purposes is embedded in the high school courses for which they are needed and most effective. However, there is evidence that the inappropriate or excessive use of electronic media for entertainment undermines teenagers’ living relationships to other people, the world around them and themselves. We strongly encourage parents to monitor and limit their teenagers’ exposure to electronic media and to maintain an open dialogue with their teenage children about the role of media in their lives. When determined by a teacher to be appropriate, media may be used at SMWS in some instances for supervised educational purposes. Laptop computers and tablet devices (iPads) are used in some courses, under instructor supervision.

● Cellphones: The High School faculty wants to ensure that the school day is free from distraction. Therefore, High School students may not use cell phones inside the high school buildings during class time, and they are to be turned off during the academic day. Students may use cell phones outside during their lunch periods. Cell phones are not allowed on school-sponsored trips without a teacher’s permission.

● Electronic Communication: E-mail, text messaging, and instant messaging have become major communication vehicles. Awareness needs to continually be brought to the student’s attention, both from parents and teachers, that short and fast forms of communication are no substitute for in-depth, personal conversation.

● Internet, Audio/Video Devices: Personal audio or video devices are not permitted on the SMWS campus during school activities or on school trips, without a teacher’s permission. Excessive internet and video game use consumes time much better spent in productive and creative pursuits, and tends to increase emotional and intellectualdetachment in a student. We encourage the students’ personal awareness of this detriment. In addition, parents can monitor this at home by locating computers and video games in open areas of the home, and encouraging the moderation of access to the student.

● Social Networking Sites: Current examples are “MySpace”, “Facebook” and “Bebo.” Though currently prevalent as a communication vehicle, they decrease social interaction in real time. These artificially created social arenas, once again, are huge distractions from a student’s creative and productive time in daily life.