Social Media

Why Are Your Kids Required To Be On Social Media

Delaney Ruston, MD
October 19, 2021
Group Snap Chat for Dance Troupe

Recently I received this  email from a mom named Michelle:

“I am a parent of two teenage daughters (16 and 14), both in high school. I am frustrated with how the schools encourage social media usage by using it for communication. The softball team communicates through Twitter. Clubs communicate through Instagram. The band uses Snapchat. How do we best encourage (request/demand) the schools to use non-social media platforms for activities, sports, and clubs?... Any advice?”

I started emailing with Michelle, and later she wrote this to me:

“I heard from a mom today that her 7th grader has to use Twitter for cross country. I'm not sure he's even 13 yet!”

I was so appreciative to get her emails, and I am extremely disturbed by all this. Kids and teens should not be expected to be on social media platforms as the primary way of communicating regarding sports, activities, etc. I wanted to get a greater feel of what educators and other parents are seeing happening, and so we posted on the Screenagers Facebook page the following question:

“Are your kids asked to communicate with their class, after-school clubs, sports, etc.,  on social media like Snapchat, Twitch, WhatsApp, Discord, or others? What are your thoughts on this? What platforms do they use for this communication?”


Many people responded with things they are seeing that they don’t like, as well as what they are okay with. 

I realize this is complicated terrain. For example, some teams do not officially use a social media platform to communicate, but the students create their own groups. 

Today I want to share some of the responses we received from the Facebook post and offer discussion questions to involve your youth in this important topic. What do they see happening? What concerns them, and what solutions do they have? 

We, here at Screenagers, would love to hear from you. We are working on a new Screenagers Podcast episode about this topic. Email us any thoughts you have on this topic — including if you have seen anyone advocate for change. 

Here are some responses from the Facebook post

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My kid's high school has a school-wide Discord server that they use for notifications. They also use it for personal communications. My teen loves it —  she found a lot of friends through their Neurodiversity channel. — K.Z.

It was unofficial, but Discord was a lifesaver last year for my son’s 7th-grade class. He was the moderator, but all the kids except 1 were in it, and some, but not all, of the teachers. It was his only SM (except YouTube), but I really saw the value for communication. — E.M. 

Schoology is definitely effective because there are groups set up for ALL classes, clubs, plays, class years, school wide administration....and it is required and on School iPad. FB can work but coaches that use it rely far more on long announcements at the end of practice so a lot is missing on FB and info is not reliably listened too by students/relayed by students to parents.The group chat by my daughter's sports team works great BUT, that is likely because of the maturity, kindness, inclusion displayed by these particular upper-class women who set the standards for the Freshmen. — H.M. 

My kids use MS teams for official communication during school hours as well as for after school clubs. However I know Instagram is informally used for their swim team, maybe other sports teams as well. I have a 12-year old who doesn’t have a phone or social media, so basically, he has no idea what’s going on if anything important is posted on Instagram. And I also have a 15-year old who has a phone and uses Instagram minimally. I personally feel that when the school feels so strongly about use of social media at such an impressionable age, why do they encourage it’s use for communication among coaches and students for after-school sports? Just don’t get it. Especially when parents are not on those groups  — P.V.

My kids had to get Snapchat for high school soccer communication. In past years they needed Instagram for sports communication. I go along but don’t agree with it. — K.H.

Formal communication for sports and teams is done with Remind. Informal, between the players/kids is all on Snapchat. I like Remind because the parents are on it too. Snapchat is much more difficult for a parent to see what's going on. I don't like Snapchat at all but also feel that if I take it away, it will limit his ability to communicate and be included with friends. — T.L.

Remind for school, GroupMe for travel...those are the formal channels. Each team he’s had has had a player-initiated Snapchat group. We’ve been on both sides of this because we didn’t allow Snapchat until high school, so there were team chat groups he was left out of. One of his teams also has a group text thread. I don’t think the content differs — at least with his teams — whether it’s text or an app like Snapchat, it’s just more frequent/often with an app. — K.D.

TeamSnap, Shutterfly for groups, Band for the parents. One of my kids uses Huddl, both use Google classroom as well. At the high school level, there is definitely more communication directly with the kids and less with the parents. Coaches usually email the parents for the smaller teams. — D.P.

My school teams use Remind. Outside of school they use TeamSnap. Both are good and can be used on phones. —  K.D. 

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Our school is only allowed to use Remind for communication. — A.P.

Remind, GroupMe & TeamSnap have been used by various teams & activities of my kids. — K.T.

Our school has used an app-not these. It really isn’t appropriate for a teacher/coach to be contacting students via personal text/emails. Not just to protect children, to protect the adults. I’d be bothered if they were using What’s App or SnapChat. — J.S.

Ideas to get the conversation going:

  1. What are the main tools of communication your kids or students see being used by  clubs, sports, etc.?
  2. What upsides and downsides do you see from the various platforms used? 
  3. Social media platforms such as Discord, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have a minimum age of 13, given that — whether you agree with that age limit or not — do you think it’s okay for a school-related program to ask younger kids to be on those platforms?
  4. What would be the problem if the main communication was via email? A group text? 
  5. Do you have experience with Groupme ( my daughter Tessa says her teams use this at her college)
  6. If you want change to happen, what things could you do? For instance, how about getting parents and students together to write a joint letter to the principal? Or, what about going to the school board? Other ideas?
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Social Media

Why Are Your Kids Required To Be On Social Media

Delaney Ruston, MD
October 19, 2021
Group Snap Chat for Dance Troupe

Recently I received this  email from a mom named Michelle:

“I am a parent of two teenage daughters (16 and 14), both in high school. I am frustrated with how the schools encourage social media usage by using it for communication. The softball team communicates through Twitter. Clubs communicate through Instagram. The band uses Snapchat. How do we best encourage (request/demand) the schools to use non-social media platforms for activities, sports, and clubs?... Any advice?”

I started emailing with Michelle, and later she wrote this to me:

“I heard from a mom today that her 7th grader has to use Twitter for cross country. I'm not sure he's even 13 yet!”

I was so appreciative to get her emails, and I am extremely disturbed by all this. Kids and teens should not be expected to be on social media platforms as the primary way of communicating regarding sports, activities, etc. I wanted to get a greater feel of what educators and other parents are seeing happening, and so we posted on the Screenagers Facebook page the following question:

“Are your kids asked to communicate with their class, after-school clubs, sports, etc.,  on social media like Snapchat, Twitch, WhatsApp, Discord, or others? What are your thoughts on this? What platforms do they use for this communication?”


Many people responded with things they are seeing that they don’t like, as well as what they are okay with. 

I realize this is complicated terrain. For example, some teams do not officially use a social media platform to communicate, but the students create their own groups. 

Today I want to share some of the responses we received from the Facebook post and offer discussion questions to involve your youth in this important topic. What do they see happening? What concerns them, and what solutions do they have? 

We, here at Screenagers, would love to hear from you. We are working on a new Screenagers Podcast episode about this topic. Email us any thoughts you have on this topic — including if you have seen anyone advocate for change. 

Here are some responses from the Facebook post

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