Special Report: School in the 21st century

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Children in the digital age are dealing with issues that previous generations never experienced.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – What your children and grandchildren deal with at school in today’s world is much different than the issues and pressures we dealt with.

In 2008, 71% of school kids had access to cellphones. Well, that number has recently jumped to 95% of students owning a smartphone.

Kids have access to endless amounts of content and that can cause problems that parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with when they were growing up.

“These kids are being hit from a lot of different angles. It’s tough, it’s tough to be a teenager right now,” said Julie Clausen, Hinton Community School District counselor.

Clausen has worked in the school district for 25 years.

“When I started it would be kids passing a note in class and it might be between two people, or they’re having an argument, between two people. But it was done it was just here at school it was contained,” said Clausen.

However, in the digital age, those notes now exist online and in group texts.

“So somebody posts, and it goes out to everybody. So they see that they are getting dog piled on, and it gets really mean, and then they have to go home with that,” said Clausen.

“I think definitely there’s probably more cyberbullying than there is bullying face to face. Because just so much easier to say mean things on the internet than face to face,” said Kail Covey, Siouxland high school senior.

Covey is a Senior at Hinton High School.

“If you see, all these people are hanging out. Well, maybe I usually hang out with them. But why didn’t they invite me this time? Just that kinda thing can hurt people’s feelings,” said Kail Covey.

“All this social media affects these kids so much that’s why anxiety and depression is so huge,” said Emily Covey.

Emily Covey is Kail’s mother. She tries to have open communication with her kids while setting firm expectations.

“Don’t be sexting, don’t be bullying people. When I talk about those things, I hope they understand and I hope they abide by what I ask. If there is at any point in time that I think you’re getting involved in it, it kind of spoils that trust and trust in our house is a big deal,” said Emily.

“I know that she can come in at any time and see what I’m doing or see what I’m posting or whatever and I wouldn’t care,” said Kail.

Clausen said digital media, like social sites, streaming video sites, and online gaming are also a regular part of kid’s lives and that can be a distraction.

“We have kids that come in, and they’re exhausted. ‘Well, what were you doing? Oh, I was gaming.’ So that’s hard to get them focused here, and to be present, and it’s stuff that’s going on that we have no control over,” said Clausen.

Shootings at school are also something students deal with in today’s world that their parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with.

Active shooter drills are a regular part of the school year in some schools.

“It’s something that these kids need to be aware of. It’s something that they need to be paying attention to because they’re out there, and they do happen, and they can hit communities like our own,” said Emily.

According to a CNN study, there have been 180 school shootings since 2009, with 356 people killed or injured.

The study found that the shootings happened in large cities and small towns alike.

For Kail, the drills are just a reality of the times she lives in.

“I just think it’s something you have to do. You just have to do it, I don’t know you really don’t have an option. I guess its normal everyone else has to do it too,” said Kali.

Concerning social media, the Hinton School District, as well as others in Siouxland schools, encourages parents to monitor their children’s accounts.

They also encourage setting limits on screen time.

Some of the recommended phone monitoring apps are FamiSafe Phone Monitoring, Pyzie Monitoring App, MSpy Mobile Monitoring, ESET Parental control, and FlexiSpy Monitoring.

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