LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Inside West High School of Innovation, Cecily Storm’s classroom is empty, but her zoom meeting is full.
Written words mostly traded for the web.
“Even recently I had an assignment and the WIFI went out," Storm said. "I said, 'you’re going to use some pen and paper for a journal entry,' and they went 'what?'”
After the pandemic forced kids from the classroom to their homes, it naturally led to more time online — a tough transition for many like freshman Raine Mayer.
“Social Media is a challenging place for a lot of people," Mayer. "It can put a lot of stress on people if they see rumors on social media about them.”
Helen Strickland is a freshman seminar teacher at the West Campus who’s worried about all the content her students are exposed to online saying, “I am highly concerned that our kids see too much.”
The Little Rock School District agreed and wanted to do something about it. The district decided to create a competition for students to produce a Public Service Announcement (PSA), using infographics or videos titled “Be Kind, Social Media.”
Liam Phillips and his partner Paula wanted to stress the importance of preventing bullying from the start.
“Online harassment and bullying is so similar to real life bullying," Phillips said. "Online may not be physical but it may be more mental."
A sentiment the team of Jahari, Amelya and Alvin took the assignment to heart.
“I mean we grew up in a world where social media is a big thing," they said, "so we’re used to seeing this negativity, so we live in it. We see it all the time.”
Their video placed first at West High School and gave Amelya and her friends some new hope.
“We have to show the kids coming up how to be positive and what you should do and shouldn’t do on social media and start early.”