MSH Students Slide Into Spring Semester
The MSH girls enjoyed a unique day to kick off their spring semester — snow tubing in 60-degree weather! The sky and snow came together for a perfect day on the slopes, and hopefully an equally perfect semester of learning and fun.
Empowering Parents in Today’s Digital World
On Tuesday evening, February 5, the parents of Midreshet Shalhevet students gathered at the school for an informative event about the use of digital technology in today’s world. The program opened with welcoming remarks by Menahelet Esther Eisenman discussing the topic of eved Ivri, a Jew sold into slavery, who lost sight of the goals and the message of Sinai. “To be a slave means to worship the wrong master,” she started. “The message of this evening is that we must all keep perspective; technology must not become our master.”
“I found the program extremely informative,” said Estee Lichter, mother of freshman Naomi and 2013 graduate Tamar. “It was compelling to see how cellphones affect everyone, not just kids. The program really gave clear and powerful things to be watchful of for our children, as well as ourselves. I was encouraged to learn how being watchful can be helpful to us in integrating this technology, that’s here for good, so we can be in control of the cellphones, and not have them be in control of us.”
We recognize that today’s technology presents opportunity, yet can also negatively impact our children in a myriad of ways. Confident that our goals as educators align with the goals of our parent body, MSH set out to create a parent educational program to address the critical importance of helping parents navigate their children’s use of technology. This program works hand in hand with an initiative MSH implemented this year in conjunction with The Digital Citizenship Project to educate and guide students on their safe use of technology.
The MSH social–emotional team headed by Menahelet Esther Eisenman, researched and collected data regarding the effects digital technology can have on students, and created a program to share these observations with the MSH parent body. Assistant Principal Shaindy Lisker, coordinator of student services Elisheva Cartman, and the social-work team worked closely to create a program that would educate and promote dialogue with the parent body on the challenges we are all facing.
Mrs. Eisenman continued that educators have been observing how social media has become the dominant force in popular culture. It shapes and it spreads ideas and attitudes faster than any other form of mass communication. “We see the effect it’s having on our students and we take note of trends like the one in Silicon Valley, where major tech moguls refuse to give their kids the technology devices that they themselves have created.”
Many of today’s parents struggle to find balance between giving their teens access to technology and implementing rules and restrictions that are regularly upheld. The goals of the program were to educate parents, encourage dialogue, and empower safe and productive use of technology.
After the introductory remarks, parents were shown “Screenagers,” physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston’s acclaimed documentary about the impact of technology on teenagers. The film is eye-opening as well as informative, revealing how tech time impacts on development, and suggests ways to empower our children to best navigate the digital world and find the right balance. She explores the friction that often occurs in homes and schools around negotiating screen time, and offers positive solutions.
Following the film, Mrs. Eisenman addressed the parent body to process the information presented in a way that would be most applicable to our community. She presented research and data collected by the school on the students’ views about technology and the amount of time they are spending on it.
“Mrs. Eisenman’s research was fascinating! What they are using the technology for, are how they perceive each other’s cellphone use.” said Lichter.
Mrs. Eisenman introduced Adiel Lejbovitz, lead technician of Smart Connections, a nonprofit organization in the Five Towns, to offer parents options of apps and filters that can monitor, filter, and limit internet use.
“Every aspect of the program was well-executed; the content, the timing. It was clear this was well thought out in order to be the most effective way of giving over this information. I really appreciated that everything was carefully considered, and made that much more impact on the parents, who stayed around for almost an hour afterward discussing what they heard and learned because it did make such a large impact,” said Yitz Elman, father of senior Rivkie and 2013 graduate Dani.
Lichter concluded, “The program gave me insight into understanding challenges that kids face, and how to deal with my children effectively. I learned that taking a device away as a punishment is not necessarily the right move, but instead working together to figure out a plan that works for both of us.”