Dr Michael Carr-Gregg comments that one out of every seven students might suffer from anxiety in some form or to some extent. While our data suggests that students at The Knox School are less likely to have issues with anxiety and a majority of communication on social media is positive, students can both create and suffer from a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) through social media.

Young people can create FOMO as they pose for Snapchat or Instagram because it seems they are having the time of their lives, when in reality, the final, posted image may be contrived. For those absent from this apparent ‘fun time’, a sense of anxiety of not being involved with your friend/s in their Snapchat or Instagram moment can be created, perhaps inadvertently.

While most of these issues occur out of school, they ‘flow’ back into school, manifesting as tensions in friendships, anxiety disrupting focus and learning or even open conflict. Thus they can become a wellbeing issue for schools as well as parents.

During 2017, The Knox School has worked with its parent community and staff to develop their skills and learning in this wellbeing area. This has been through explicit support for two of the pillars of our strategy of PL@TKS (Personalised Learning at The Knox School.) These two pillars are Connect and Shape.

One of these programs has been the Tuning in to Teens™ program.

Tuning in to Teens™ is a parenting program through the University of Melbourne that focuses on emotions and is designed to assist parents to establish stronger relationships with their teenage children. The program provides parents with a greater understanding of their teen’s emotional experiences while teaching specific skills that can assist in being supportive, empathic and staying connected with the young person.

This program has been picked up and used brilliantly by Year 6 teachers at The Knox School. It has been combined with studies in Media and Digital Technologies. The students have been involved in learning photography. This has included both the features of an SLR digital camera but also how these features can be used to create ‘selfies’. Sallyanne from Reflect Photography has allowed the students to use a set of Canon SLR cameras.

The ‘Selfie’ program unpacks the messages we send via social media. In addition, each student learns about the functions of a Canon digital SLR camera as they also understand that a photo might be worth a thousand words, but those thousand words might not always be factual!

In the context of the life of a Year 6 student, this is valuable learning. Good digital technology studies, great visual composition skills in taking a good photo but also an understanding of the use of imagery in social media contexts, where the image may not be totally representative of reality.

This is another of the vignettes of learning at The Knox School that I am proud to bring to your attention. The teachers are supplying them to me at a rate I am finding difficult to write up and publish. I have several involving students in Middle School and Senior college to come. Please watch out for them on my blog.

Much that is positive has occurred at The Knox School in 2017 and 2018 augurs to be even better.

I would like to pay tribute to all those teachers and staff who work so hard to make your child(ren)’s experiences and learning so positive.

My grateful thanks to all of you, our parental partners! Your child(ren)’s success cannot happen without your support and expectations that they achieve a PB (personal best) at school.