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School Safety Seminar Focuses on the Dangers of Social Media and Technology – UB Now: News and Views for UB Faculty and Staff


To address the dangers of social media and technology facing young people inside and outside of schools, several regional and national organizations have teamed up to host the 17th Annual Reboot Safe Schools Initiative Seminar. .

The free virtual event – ​​titled “Addressing the Misuse, Overuse and Abuse of Social Media and Technology in Schools and Online Spaces” – is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on November 9 via Zoom. Registration is mandatory. Guests can register on the event website.

The one-day seminar, presented this year by the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, will help educators, law enforcement, first responders, young professionals, school responders, counselors, psychologists, school administrators colleges, school board members and elected officials, and parents and guardians of school-aged children gain a better understanding of the dangers of digital technology affecting children and teens and get an action plan to deal.

The annual event is a forum for thousands of professionals and parents concerned with school safety to come together and learn about important topics related to the protection of children and communities. This year’s seminar is a reboot of the 2020 event, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founding sponsors include US Secret Service, Buffalo Field Office; UB’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention; the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of New York; and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, New York Office. The program also received support from its seminar sponsor, Utica National Insurance Group.

“The Safe Schools Initiative annual seminar continues to provide an invaluable platform for [Erie County Law Enforcement] Foundation to engage our multiple stakeholders to proactively respond to security issues in schools,” said Michael Bryant, president of the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation and head of corporate security at M&T Bank. Bryant is also a former Special Agent in Charge of the US Secret Service, Buffalo Field Office, and first hosted the Safe Schools Initiative Seminar in Western New York and hosted the event at UB.

“The perils of social media abuse and technology addiction in our schools over the past year and a half have created serious, and at times dangerous, challenges to the mental health and development of our K-12 population. “, he says.

The seminar will be led by nationally recognized leaders in promoting safe practices on social media and the internet, and managing mental health issues arising from the overuse of these platforms, particularly during the pandemic. of COVID-19.

Presentations include:

  • “Responding to Youth Abuse and Abuse of Social Media,” by Sameer Hinduja, professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and associate professor at Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He is also co-founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Bullying Prevention. Hinduja will share their research findings and provide an action plan to address the major forms of technology misuse among young people today. The presentation will include specific and pragmatic school climate initiatives.
  • “‘Recovery’ from (ongoing) Covid-related mental health issues due to virtual education isolation and other restrictions”, by Melissa Reeves, Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Clinical Health Counselor Certified Mental Health, Certified Special Educator and Senior Consultant at SIGMA Threat Management Associates. She is also past president of the National Association of School Psychologists. Reeves will discuss the impact of COVID-related mental health issues on academic achievement and social-emotional functioning. Participants will learn developmental indicators of these mental health issues, as well as specific strategies for implementing proactive, universal, and targeted approaches that address COVID-related mental health needs.
  • “Making the Internet a Safer Environment for Our Students: A Presentation by Meta Trust and Safety Team,” by Jennifer Hanley, Head of Safety for North America, and Alexandra Hayman, Strategic Engagement Partner on the Trust and Safety Team, both at Meta. Hanley and Hayman will provide information on Facebook and Instagram tools and resources focused on safety and education for students who are online. They will also discuss Meta approach to safety, while sharing resources and tips for educators, law enforcement, and others who play a role in young people’s lives.

“This timely seminar will address various forms of misuse and misuse of technology and social media in the lives of our young people, as well as other challenges that COVID-19 has had on their mental health, academic achievement and socio-emotional functioning,” says Amanda Nickerson, director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention and professor of counseling, school and instructional psychology at the Graduate School of Education. “Importantly, all three Safe Schools Initiative seminar sessions this year will offer specific strategies and resources to address these issues in our schools, communities, and online environments.”

For more information, visit the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation website.

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