Social media has changed the world, for better or worse. The fact is that social media is virtually available to anyone, including students that attend middle schools and high schools. Many children have their own smart phones that allow them to stay connected at all times. These devices let them to connect with other students at school and beyond. This also means that fallout from positive and negative interactions on those platforms can trickle down into the school day.
School Counselors Tackle Everything
The role of the school guidance counselor has changed dramatically over the last decade. Gone are the days where these school professionals worked on class schedules and college applications for their students. These days, they are also assisting students with problem solving that involves personal concerns and issues with peers. Many of the peer and social items may be directly tied to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
While children may not tell their parents about their social media presence, they may share this information with a trusted counselor. Many school counselors are taking time to talk with children about Internet and social media safety. They share resources with them to make sure they stay safe online, do not share too much information, and remind them that communication with home is very important. Counselors may also be a bridge to help begin these conversations with families and students.
Reality of Cyberbullying
School counselors are also starting to be placed within elementary schools for a multitude of reasons. They also work here to teach safe Internet usage with younger children. Nasty emails, inappropriate text messages, Facebook spats, and other concerns may be mentioned to counselors by students. They can help guide children who are fighting with peers or being bullied. They will be able to assist them to get more support from a social worker, school psychologist, or help them to take steps to work it out together.
At the end of a day, school counselors wear many different hats. They help students with their academic schedules and guide them socially and emotionally if needed. These days, school counselors need to be on top of different forms of social media that kids may be using. They should be aware of terms of service agreements, ways to let families know what children may be using, and how to assist if a child has a social media crisis that comes up.