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Students Tackle Social Media Dilemma with New Student-Led Workshops
Elizabeth McDonnell

As part of our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program at St. Andrew’s, our Upper School students (grades 7-12) will be participating in The Social Institutes' new #WinAtSocial LIVE, (LIVE) campaign this year. Created by The Social Institute’s Research Advisory Committee -  a select group of psychologists and child development experts - LIVE enables schools to proactively address current events and trending topics that matter to students. In a world that is seemingly filled with new distractions and pulls to social media, The Social Institute, a St. Andrew’s partner, created the #WinAtSocial LIVE workshops to help today’s teens cope.

Student-led lessons will be broken up throughout the year into a series of workshops and group conversations. During the Upper School LIVE kick-off workshop this month, students had the opportunity to learn more about the program and begin having conversations about the selected topic of social media. At the first workshop, students participated in an orientation session that focused on taking control of your health, happiness, and future success. Led by our K-12 Wellness Director, Mara Garcia, students discussed what the #WinAtSocial campaign means, why it matters, and shared ideas about how students can have great conversations during our #WinAtSocial LIVE workshops this year. 

Some of the ideas generated were staying in control of personal info and privacy online, striking a balance with the use of technology to maximize online time, finding ways to use social media and tech for good, and mastering techniques to handle stress and everyday pressures. After many great discussions, students then concluded with a fun game– trying to stay focused while social media distractions were happening all around them.

“The content was really relevant to the students in this workshop, and students were engaged,” said Upper School faculty and senior advisor Murielle Sipola. “They appreciated the positive tone of the platform – the fact that we focused not on judging, but on knowing yourself as you are, an imperfect teenager functioning in this world of social media that is here to stay for better and for worse.”

A new study published in Advances in Physiology Education found that social media distraction in the classroom interferes with visual, but not auditory, learning in college students. Additionally, according to the Pew Research Center, 72% of parents feel like their teen is distracted by their phone while trying to have a conversation. And, 51% of teens feel the same way about their parents!

The learning and conversations around social media in the first #WinAtSocial LIVE workshop didn't cease when the workshop ended. Students were encouraged to keep the conversation going at home and given access to 3 major resources to share with their families throughout the year; the Parent Toolkit, the Playbooks, and the Family Huddles - all of which are fully accessible for our Upper School families at St. Andrew’s. 

The Parent Toolkit includes a full library of content created specifically for families. Playbooks, feature expert breakdowns of the most popular apps and platforms (such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Among Us, Fortnite) and tips on how students can use them positively. Family Huddles reinforce important topics through casual conversation. These resources all align with #WinAtSocial in school lessons to extend the discussion beyond the classroom and to encourage students to engage with their families.

Are you practicing your #WinAtSocial at home? We want to see your photos! Tag us and use the hashtag #WinAtSocial or email them to