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Information on the Netflix series popular with teens.
Please find attached important material

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As educators, we are concerned about the well-being of your child and wanted to make you aware of a popular Netflix series that teens and pre-teens are discussing.

13 Reasons Why is a popular fictional series based on a young adult novel and is targeted to a pre-teen and teen audiences.

The show tells the story of a 17-year-old girl, Hannah who kills herself and leaves behind 13 tapes explaining why she took her own life.

The show has received criticism from mental health professionals for its depiction of suicide. It also contains graphic scenes of rape, bullyingand alcoholism.

Of particular concern is that many teens may have watched this without the guidance of an adult. While it is not recommended that teens be encouraged to watch the series, it is important to see if your child has and to engage in a conversation about suicide, mental health and ways to get help.

Attached below is a document, 13 Reasons Why Talking Points that can serve as a guide for a discussion with your child.

Below is information from the National Association of School Psychologists providing additional guidance.

13 Reasons Why.docx

GUIDANCE FOR FAMILIES from NASP

1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.

2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.

3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.

4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.

5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

Below is information from the National Association of School Psychologists providing additional guidance.

13 Reasons Why.docx

CT Suicide Advisory Board

What is it?

Method of extreme Cyberbullying that targets vulnerable youth to perform self-harm over 50 days and encourages suicide. It is not a game.
Blue Whale challenges youth to tag others to "play" using social media. Once the Blue Whale app is downloaded, it hacks into their personal information and cannot be removed.
The app uses threatening messages related to the teen's personal information or family safety to bully them into self-harm behaviors.

Advice for parents/guardians and teens

Monitor your children's use of electronic devices and computers. Know what types of websites they're visiting, and what apps they're attempting to access and are using. Talk with them about what they're doing on their devices. Regularly review their browsing and search histories.

Provide guidance to your children/teens on what to do if someone challenges them to use the app, or if they know of someone using the app. Encourage them to tell a trusted adult who can then help address the problem, report it to authorities, connect at risk youth to help, and address the infected device.

Know the warning signs of mental distress. Changes in behavior. Physical or verbal expressions of hopelessness, sadness, extreme boredom, depression, and/or anxiety. Displays overwhelming pain or distress. Talks about, writes about or makes plans about committing suicide. Experiences stressful situations including a loss, change, personal humiliation, trouble at school or with the law, etc.

Know what to do. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency when someone makes an immediate threat to hurt or kill themselves, and restrict their access to anything they may use to harm themselves. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 2-1-1 in CT, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or a mental health professional if someone shows warning signs, but is not in immediate danger.

Resources

Parent Guides on Cybersafety

Prevent Cyberbullying

A Parent's Guide to Cyberbulling

Prevent Cyberbullying

What Parents Need to Know About Self-Injury

Prevent Suicide CT

NSF’s acting chief operating officer, Joan Ferrini-Mundy, offers parents tips on taking an educator’s approach to math at home

If you’ve ever had to help your child with math homework, you really appreciate their teachers, who do it every day. “Math anxiety” isn’t something only kids experience.

Maybe you haven’t seen an algebra formula in years, and weren’t that comfortable with them when you were a student. Maybe you’re a skilled mathematician, but don’t know how to explain what you’re doing to a child. Whatever the case, math homework can leave parents feeling every bit as frustrated as their children. Homework doesn’t have to lead to unpleasantness, though.

What I’ve learned through my own experience — as a teacher, a researcher, from helping my own children and now watching my daughter work as an elementary school mathematics teacher — is that communication is (excuse the pun) the common denominator when it comes to making math homework a positive experience.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), where I work, is dedicated to research. We support scientists across the country who study learning and education systems. But we’re also teachers at heart. On lunch breaks in the past, a group of us have gathered to help our NSF peers with their own questions about how to help their kids learn math.

Here are a few tips from what we’ve learned:

1. Try as hard as you can to understand what your child is saying. When your child is working out a math problem, ask her to think out loud, to say what she’s doing and why. In some cases, your child might be able to answer her own questions. Don’t just come in with an explanation of how things should be done.

2. We've learned a lot about teaching. NSF-supported researchers and other scientists are producing findings that change the way we understand learning and how we teach. Math instruction today might look very different from when you were in school. Keep an open mind. If you’re dismissive of something, there’s a chance your child will be, too.

3. Assume there is some logical thinking your child is employing. Even if he’s producing incorrect answers, your child is employing some kind of thought process, and understanding it is the key to providing help. Let’s say your child is adding 1/3 and 1/4 and getting 2/7. If his explanation is that he was adding the numerators and denominators, you’ve just learned that he might not fully understand what a fraction is. And that gives you a starting point for helping.

4. Homework is about more than producing the correct answers. It’s about learning processes and skills. Even if you can come up with the right answer to a problem with which your child is struggling, there’s a lot you still need to explain — namely, how you arrived at that point.

5. Become a teacher’s ally. Talk to your child’s teachers. Find out how they are teaching certain ideas and concepts. At times, parents unhappy about their children’s struggles to learn can approach teachers from a place of frustration. View your child’s teachers as your partners and collaborators.

6. Find additional help. Worried you won’t be able to understand the math your child is trying to learn? Take a careful look at her textbook or online learning materials. See if the publisher provides any resources. Look for other publicly available teaching aids, especially those that have had NSF support. Do you have friends or coworkers with children? Start a lunch group to talk through your homework challenges.

7. Remember, every child is different and learns differently. Just because your oldest child learned his multiplication facts one way doesn’t mean his younger sister will do the same. Which brings us back to the first tip: Listen to each child and do your best to understand.

Ferrini-Mundy is acting chief operating officer at NSF and a former assistant director for NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate. 7 ways to help your kids with math homework


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