ST. LOUISE SCHOOL PARENT BULLETIN

January 10, 2019
Dan's Blog
This is an actual Tweet from a Catholic priest in Virginia who felt obligated to comment about the ultra-popular app, Snapchat. If you have teens or near-teens, you know about Snapchat. It's one of the most popular social media apps out there, giving middle school and high school kids (and even younger children) a simple way to share everyday moments while simultaneously making them look awesome, and all in a way that can never be traced or do any harm to anyone. Actually, the only truthful statements above were the ones about Snapchat being popular, simple, and used by all ages of youth.
  
 
Unlike the apps most adults know well - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - which record and broadcast everything you do, Snapchat uses messages that are meant to disappear (but they actually don't). What caused Father Beeman to speak out was the fact he is hearing kids tell him the debauchery they are getting into because of using this app - from posting their own or sharing others' provocative photos, to engaging in crude and/or cruel texting.

As a parent, it's a good idea to understand not only how Snapchat works, but how other apps popular with kids work, such as Whatsapp, Blendr, Calculators, Live.me, TikTok, Kik, and Yubo.
 
"What!?" you say. "I've never heard of half these apps, let alone know how my kids use them!"
 
You're not alone. I'm hardly at expert at anything involving social media apps, save for reading Facebook and Twitter posts. That's why I go to reliable sources to learn more about what teens and pre-teens are getting into these days, hoping I can get educated enough to help parents make smarter choices at home on when to introduce and how to monitor smart phone-use and other internet-capable technology as their kids get older.
 
The nationwide average age that children are given their first smart phone is now age 10. I don't mean to be vulgar here, but should a parent give a 10 year old an X-rated video to watch? How about waiting until the child is 13 - is it now okay? Of course not. But when a child is given a smart phone, a parent is actually giving him/her access to a computer that is seconds away from seeing the most offensive and indecent X-rated images, and images that can never be erased from the child's memory.

The average age of a child's first exposure to pornography is now 11 years old, thanks to cell phones and computers. Besides the obvious immorality of pornography, kids are simply unprepared to distinguish the messages they encounter in porn and understand the feelings that emerge when they see actions that are incomprehensible. The type of pornography and access to pornography is not like a generation ago when a young boy would catch a peek at a Playboy magazine if he happened to be unsupervised at a store and snuck away to the magazine rack. What is out there on the internet for today's generation is easier for kids to see - be it by accident or on purpose - and ten times as disordered.
 
Even if agreeing with the above reason against giving their children cell phones, parents might still be resigned to get their children phones, arguing, "But my kids need their own phones in cases of emergency when they are waiting to be picked up from soccer practice or walking alone to the library after school." That's an understandable reason. And that's why, if this is the reason you want to give your child a cell phone, give them one that isn't "smart" and can't access the internet.

If you don't have children who will be totally alone without an adult present, how about choosing to not get them phones until your children are old enough to pay for the phone themselves? Of course, this means the purchase will occur later in high school when your child gets a part time job. You managed to survive your childhood without a cell phone. I survived mine. Your child will survive his/hers.
 
Besides wanting their children to be "safe" by giving them smart phones, the other reason some parents give for why they buy phones for their kids is because it's how preteens and teens communicate these days. It's kind of the "everyone is doing it" reason. Well, every child is doing it because parents are allowing them to, by facilitating and funding this addiction to texting, gaming, and unfortunately, crude texting and/or porn-viewing.
 
If your children wants to be on social media so they don't "miss out," ask yourself, "Perhaps 'missing out' is exactly what my kids need most. They see their friends in-person for seven hours a day at school. They don't need to then connect with them in a virtual-way for another four hours a day after school and into the evening." Your kids need to find real life, not virtual life on social media. Perhaps without devices in every family member's hands, you'll be able to have a family dinner with everyone at the table actually participating in face-to-face conversations! How radical would that be?! (Watch this interesting test done on families where they stopped having devices out at dinner time.)
 
Remember, no child has ever been morally or emotionally improved by using Snapchat, playing Fortnite, or watching crude videos on YouTube. Conversely, every child to some degree has been harmed by being exposed to these.  Many studies consistently show that social media is detrimental to a child's happiness and well-being. One study has even shown that kids who spend more than three hours a day on social sites are twice as likely to develop mental health issues. 
 
Thank you for taking this blog in the spirit in which it was written - not with the objective of chastising parents, but out of concern for your children.  I am urging you to educate yourself on how to make smart parenting decisions regarding your child's use of technology, by clicking on the bullet-pointed list above, and then to teach your child to make safe and moral internet/online/screen-time choices.

Can I challenge you to make it a New Year's resolution to check off as many of the following as possible in 2019?
 
1. Take time to talk to your child about using social media safely, ethically, and responsibly.

2. Discuss what apps, sites, and games you will and will not allow your child to access.

3. Keep communication with your child open and encourage him/her to share with you if he/she comes across a message, a post, or a site that makes him/her feel uncomfortable.

4. Install a filtering/blocking-type of program on any cell phone, video game console, tablet, or computer your child has access to. Remember, children are often smarter than parents in knowing how these programs work, and can often find a way around the blocking. So you'll want to continue to check on your child's use and history. Plus, when you child is at another kid's house, it doesn't matter how well you blocked his/her device if the friend's parents didn't do the same. Are you willing to ask the friend's parents if they too are filtering/blocking programs?

5. If you do give your child a smart phone, make sure your child understands it is not "their" phone; it is "your" phone. (Unless your child bought it with his/her own money and is paying the monthly rate.) And because of this, you the parent can take the phone away at any time for whatever reason - whether it's because the child is using it improperly, using it too often or too late into the night, or made some other poor choice unrelated to the phone but needs a consequence. In my day, mom or dad would take away the car keys if the teenager misbehaved. Today's parent needs to take away the phone - and please don't feel guilty if you do this. Yes, your child will throw a fit.

It's oh-so-difficult to be a parent in the year 2019! May God grant you wisdom, patience, and strength!

Pax et bonum, 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mr. Fitz
 
p.s.

Please save the following dates for various special events taking place during national Catholic Schools' Week, coming up at the end of the month:
  • January 26 & 27 - Celebration at all the St. Louise Masses; students who come to a Mass proudly wearing their complete school uniform will be awarded Free Dress on Monday the 28th
  • January 30 - It's Teacher Appreciation Day! Teachers are treated to a 1-hour-long lunch by Parents' Club's hospitality committee and parent volunteer cooks/servers; parent volunteers will be needed from 12:00-1:00 to supervise students so the teachers can enjoy this rare hour lunch; contact your room parent if you can volunteer to co-supervise your child's class
  • January 30 - Grade 6, 7, 8 parents are invited to pick up their middle school children and take them out to lunch at a restaurant from 11:15-1:00 (a signed permission slip will be required)
Upcoming Calendar of Events  

Tonight
  • Open House at 6:30PM highlighting grades 6, 7, 8. If you know of a family with an upcoming grade 6-8 student, who might be considering transferring to our close-knit, safe, and academically-challenging St. Louise middle school, please invite them. Current 4th/5th/6th grade parents and students are also invited to the Open House, to meet next year's teachers and find out about the exciting curricula and events that await students entering our middle school program!

Saturday, January 12
  • Benefit Concert organized by 8th grader Camille Mittelette to raise funds for Nepali children in Kathmandu; the children need money to make a rooftop garden to grow vegetables to sell for future high school scholarships; Camille and other musicians will be performing the music of Bach, Tchaikovsky, and more; Concert is in parish hall at 6:30PM; free-will offering

Thursday, January 17
  • Bake Sale

Friday, January 18
  • Registration closes for CYO Volleyball; see the article below for more information

Saturday, January 19
  • Speech Team competes in Seattle Prep Tourney; Go, Chargers!

Monday, January 21 - NO SCHOOL
  • Martin Luther King, Jr's Birthday
  • School and Kids' Club closed

Saturday and Sunday, January 26 and 27 - Catholic Schools' Week Begins
  • All students are asked to attend a weekend Mass at St. Louise wearing a complete school uniform; the reward is a free-dress-bracelet, to be worn on Monday the 28th for a free dress day
  • Coffee & Donuts will be served in the school lobby after Sunday's 7:30/9/11 Masses, with student art work on display throughout the school
  • Students in 4/5/6/8 will have special roles in the various Masses at St. Louise

Save the Date: Thursday, January 31
  • Open House at 6:30PM will be for all grade levels - PreK through 8th. Please invite your neighbor, co-worker, friend with upcoming school-age children to accompany you.
SCHOOL CALENDAR
Stop by TONIGHT to Meet Your Future Teachers
         
          
Tonight's Open House from 6:30-7:30PM
is a special information session solely focusing on grades 6, 7, and 8. If you are a current St. Louise family with kids in grades 4-6, and want to learn why our St. Louise middle school grades are so effective, with over half of our graduates who enter a Catholic high school receiving merit scholarships, please come to school tonight. You can meet your kids' future teachers and ask them questions about curricula and programs that are unique to St. Louise 11-14 year-olds.
          Additionally, please consider asking your friends with an upcoming middle school student at another school to attend the Open House with you. You can drive them here or meet them in the parking lot at 6:30. Your kids and theirs are encouraged to come too. Once here, make sure you introduce the new family to Cindy Wagner, our development director, who will be greeting you at the front door inside the lobby. Cindy will jot down your name and make sure you get a Starbucks card the next day - our thank you for bringing a guest.
          Our final Open House of the admissions season - on January 31 at 6:30 - will be for everyone. All our grades PreK through 8 classrooms will be open for touring and talking with the teachers on the 31st.

 

Here's what you missed if you weren't able to attend our Christmas Concert, performed by our talented 5th and 6th graders the last week of school in December...

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charger Cards

The Charger Cards office will be open for Friday-sales tomorrow during the usual 8:15-9:00AM timeframe.

Of course, you may always purchase 24/7 at www.shopwithscrip.com or myscripwallet.com for ScripNow, Reload, or Reload Now cards.                          
 
 
 
Charger Cards...It's simple, it's thoughtful and it's truly the gift that keeps on giving!
 
For more information on Charger Cards and online ordering, please visit www.stlouiseschool.org/chargercards or email chairperson Marsha at chargercards@stlouiseschool.org
 
No Need to Watch TV on Snow Mornings; Just Wait for a Text
         
If you wake up and suspect that snowfall (of other acts of God) may affect if school will begin on time or open at all, keep your cell phone and computer nearby. St. Louise School uses TEXTING and EMAILING as our emergency notification procedure to parents in the event of snowfall closing the school or delaying our start.
 
Emergency texting/emailing will also be used if an emergency occurs during school hours (heavy snow during the day, a lockdown, power outage during the cold/dark months, etc.) and you will either need an update or need to be informed to come get your children.
 
Since the St. Louise School population lives in a large area over many cities and various elevations, during snowfall the Lake Hills neighborhood may be very drivable, but your neighborhood may be dangerously slick. Please make your own choice, based on your geographical location, about whether or not to attempt to drive to school in the morning or to come to school during the school day to pick up your kids early.
  • Note 1: St. Louise School does NOT call TV and radio stations to broadcast our school's closure/delayed-start information. You will only be notified via our group texting service through BrightArrow.com and/or through a group email from school.
  • Note 2: You will not receive a text to tell you school is on regular schedule; we only send out messages if there is a change in schedule.
 
To learn more about our emergency texting procedure through BrightArrow.com, including how to add an additional contact number or email, please go here.

Save the Date

          Save the date for the return of Bingo to our parish! St. Louise Family Bingo Night will be on Saturday, January 26, at 6pm in the Parish Hall. For just $2 per card buy-in, the whole family can have fun winning prizes. There will also be raffles, food, and drinks for purchase. It's FUN for the whole family!
          Proceeds benefit Advocacy and Caring for Children (ACC), a volunteer organization that provides caring, funding, and advocacy for Western Washington children and families in need. Family Bingo Night is brought to you by fellow St. Louise moms of ACC St. Therese Circle

Will You Go to Mom Prom with Me?

          There is still time to purchase your tickets to this Saturday's "Mom Prom"! Mom Prom tickets were originally sold at the Auction, and you can still get tickets by contacting Julianne Read.
          The DJ  starts Saturday at 7:00   at the Tam O'Shanter Clubhouse. There will be appetizers and dessert, and everyone gets 2 drink tickets to use at the bar. (There is a full bar at the clubhouse.) As for attire, prom dresses are encouraged, but not necessary!  See you on the dance floor!
Time to Sign-Up for CYO Volleyball
         
          CYO volleyball registration is now open to all St. Louise students in grades 4-8.  To sign-up, please go HERE. The registration fee is $75. Registration will close on January 18th. Late registrations may be accepted depending on if there is still roster space, but at the increased cost of  $110.
          For more information, contact St. Louise volleyball coordinator, Joni Hoffman .
          
          Go, Chargers!
 
Prayer Inspiration for the Week

"The Hail Mary will take us to Heaven."
 
~Saint Jeanne Jugan
 



 
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