A teacher in Utah is urging parents to “wake up” when it comes to children’s social media use.
The teacher, Skipper Coates, who teaches in Pleasant Grove asked a group of 85 teenagers to finish one sentence: “What my parents don’t know about social media is…”
One student responded, finishing the sentence, “That I’m on it ’till like 2 a.m. every day.”
Another added, “You can send nudes, receive nudes, sext, buy drugs, delete texts, buy bongs.”
“What my parents don’t know about social media is…I swear so much and talk [expletive] on everyone. I get nudes from boys I don’t even know,” another student said.
“What my parents don’t know about social media is how to find my pictures,” said another.
Coates posted pictures on Facebook of the cards that students wrote their answers on.
“What my parents don’t know about social media is that I have a secret rant account [where] I talk about my mental health. I also have Internet friends,” said another.
“What my parents don’t know about social media is that I actually have one,” said another.
“The answers were SICKENING. Heartbreaking. Depressing,” wrote Coates.
“Parents of the world, WAKE. UP. Your kids are living in a world that you are not invited to be part of. And they know how to keep you out. Your teenager DOES NOT NEED a smartphone.”
She said she wanted to get the word out that children need mental health resources and also better parenting.
“Our kids need mental health resources. I’ve worked with teens long enough to know how to read between the lines,” she said.
Referring to one of the cards talking about “nudes,” she added,” What this student is really saying is that s/he doesn’t know how to handle emotions beyond their control (sadness, low self-esteem, etc)…but surely knows how to manipulate the emotions s/he can control (anger, bitterness, resentment).”
All year long, Coates told ABC that she has been passing out similar questions to the students.
“With the recent school violence, the high Utah suicide rate, and the prevalence of school bullying I wanted to know more about what is happening behind the scenes. I also am a mother of three and have a pre-teen at home. He’s been talking about how he needs a smartphone, but I see the damage they are doing,” she explained.
“What concerns me the most is how quickly social media changes. As adults who did not grow up with social media, we can’t keep up with all the new apps, the new codes the kids use, and the speed of communication. My mission in sharing all of this is to get all adults to work together to help save our kids from life-changing habits that are forming at younger and younger ages.”