In this world of cyber bullying and online predators, one local school asked students to take a pledge to stay off social media, until they're mature enough to handle it.
It’s not surprising to hear of kids as young as seven having social media accounts. But St. Angela Merici 6th grader, Mary Kearney isn’t one of them.
“It's usually illegal to go on social media until your thirteen our fourteen,” Mary said.
She’s one of 20% of students at the K-8 school to sign a social media pledge to stay off those internet sites until 8th grade.
“You have to be prepared to go into a world that's messy and violent and where people get bullied all the time you just have to be ready for that and some kids 9, 10, 11 like me, they're not ready,” Mary said.
Fellow 6th grader Erin Hvisdos signed too, for more practical reasons.
“If you don't find out what your best friend's cat is named the world will still go on if you don't find out that Kim Kardashian released a new perfume the world will still go on,” Erin says.
Fourth grader Nicholas Malik agrees.
“If you want to know what people are saying you could just have a conversation face to face with them,” he said.
Fifth grader James Pacetti simply has better things to do.
“We could do activities like soccer, we can draw and we don't have to get involved in social media,” he said.
The pledge idea came from lawyer and mom, Ann-Marie Ahern who has two daughters that attend the school. She became concerned when she learned that kids in her daughter’s second grade class had Snap Chat accounts. But what really got to her was a detective who spoke about the dangers with social media and kids.
“They’re not mature enough to understand the information they’re putting out there makes them vulnerable. No parent wants to be the only one to say know so how do we band together as parents and do what’s right for our kids?” she said.
The majority of parents supported the idea although some felt it wasn’t the school’s place to determine who uses social media or not. Upper school Principal Lisa Whelan agrees and that’s why the pledge was optional.
While only one in five kids signed Ahern hopes this is just a good start and each year the pledge will be offered to younger kids with the hope that positive peer pressure will work.
“If nobody in your class is on social media chances are you won't want to be either,” Ahern said.
Click here to see the pledge or to download it.