NEEDHAM — A pair of moms have received a $15,000 grant from the Needham Education Foundation for a social media program to educate middle school students about constructive ways to use the medium, as well as creating empathy around digital communication.
Carolyn Crotty Guttilla and Martha Cohen Barrett worked with Pollard Middle School Principal Tamatha Bibbo to ensure implementation of their approach would work within the school.
The program will be offered this fall at the middle school to more than 900 students, their parents and faculty members.
“Improving Digital Communication: Helping Pollard Students Better Understand How Social Media Communication Can Be Misinterpreted” will focus on professional development for teachers, parent meetings that will discuss goals and provide practical tips, and an interactive workshop for students.
The program is designed to increase awareness on how digital communication can be misinterpreted and to help students develop personal strategies and healthy boundaries for dealing with online communication, while also decreasing stress around digital communication and social media. It was created and will be led by Jill Walsh, a Boston University sociologist and expert on adolescent social media use.