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Colorado Springs launches social media challenge for kids to tackle negative patterns

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Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 03, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — The City of Colorado Springs launched a new campaign to tackle an increase in negative social media behavior in local schools.

The city and local school districts are teaming up for the 'Challenge to Change" program. The challenge calls on kids and their parents to reduce or completely eliminate social media for seven days.

The city says they will use this time to identify social media impacts, and help give them a better understanding of social media habits.

Local experts say on average, teens spend nine hours per day online, which can lead to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, and poor body image. The city also said that more kids began to rely on social media in isolation during the pandemic, all while mental health resources have decreased.

During a discussion on Thursday, Colorado Springs School District 11 talked about how they have seen an uptick in cyberbullying, violence and threats. District 11 Executive Director of Student Wellness, Cory Notestine, said it can be hard for students to handle these emotions and know how to resolve these conflicts.

The city and school districts are also urging parents to talk to their kids about social media and what is and isn't ok to post.

The City also posted a resource page, which provides the following tips below on what is and isn't good social media behavior.

Healthy Habits:

  1. Establish set times for social media use - and stick to your limits.
  2. Keep phones and other digital devices out of the bedroom at night.
  3. Social media evolves quickly. Learn the newest app, and sign up for an account (yes, even TikTok).
  4. Know what your child is doing online using a monitoring service, or connecting with their social media directly.
  5. Talk about it. Engage your child in a conversation about what's happening in their social media life.

Social Media Red Flags:

  1. Following or engaging with accounts pretending to be a school system or other fraudulent account.
  2. Engaging in risky or illegal behavior because of a social media "challenge."
  3. Becoming overly concerned over likes or followers, to the detriment of other activities.
  4. Interacting with people who are not known to you in real life (IRL).

Social Media Conduct that may be Illegal:

  1. Making threats to a person or place.
  2. Posting or sharing images that are pornographic, especially if of a minor.
  3. Planning violence, such as a fight.
  4. Encouraging illegal or dangerous behavior in others.
  5. Posing as or pretending to represent a private or governmental entity, yes, even if it's meant to be funny.

Social Media Do's and Don'ts:

  1. DO REPORT: Threats of violence, pornographic imagery, or cyberbullying to a school resource officer, or Safe2Tell.
  2. DON'T SPREAD RUMORS: Do not forward or re-post threats, pornographic imagery or cyberbullying.
  3. DO UNFOLLOW: Fake or parody accounts falsely representing school districts or individuals.
  4. DON'T: Friend people you don't know IRL.

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