• How Much Time Do YOU or Your Kids Spend on Their Devices?

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 6/5/2018

    I just read this and was super excited!  Parents will be able to set screen time limits for specific apps on their children's phones (and their own phones too if they are keeping track).  Here is the article....


    Hey everyone—I believe this could be a real game changer. Yesterday Apple announced that later this month it will release a new software update—operating system iOS 12— which will include several much-needed functions in a tool named “Screen Time.” This tool helps parents control aspects of kids’ time spent on phones and tablets. Google has similar controls for Android phones that can be managed through its Family Link app, but today I am writing about iPhones and iPads.

    For years I’ve been speaking and writing about the need for technologymanufacturers to add easy screentime parental controls to their devices. Until now, parents could put apps on kids’ phones to try to do things like this, but youth are able to bypass the apps by disabling the VPN, or by other means. So, Apple’s new functions are a really big deal.

    Screen Time will have many features, including a program that records time spent on various apps. Currently, if someone wants to know the amount of time spent on apps, they have to download a third-party app. My son Chase did this recently with the app called Moment to track his time. He was surprised by how much time he was on his phone and how frequently he was checking it just out of habit throughout the day. Now, this function will automatically be installed with the iPhone update. Parents and youth will be able to get activity reports from their “Family Sharing” account in iCloud. Knowing use patterns of various apps can help direct conversations about what individual behaviors need modification.

    Screen Time will enable parents to set time limits for usage for individual apps, through the tool, “App Limits.” It will even notify children when their time is almost done. This warning can help youth more calmly transition off their devices.

    Now parents will be able to control the apps they do not want their children using during school hours, such as Instagram and Snapchat, while keeping others on their phones during school, such as Quizlet (an app that mimics flashcards). This function will be helpful at home as well. As I always say, “Sleep is Supreme.” In iOS 12 it will be easy to set up bedtime parameters on kids’ phones and tablets.

    Notifications are often a huge distraction (I personally do not allow any on my phone except for receiving phone calls and texts), but with a new tool called “Downtime”, you will be able to easily control when notifications can be displayed and delivered to you (or to your child).

    In conclusion, I want to share my fantasy: that through large public and small private discussions, involving young and old, our society will establish norms around tech limits (what children have access to and time limits) and technology will seamlessly support these norms.

    For Today’s Tech Talk Tuesday let’s talk to our kids—ages 2 to 20—about the potential power and pitfalls of the Apple tool, Screen Time.

    1. Does the idea of knowing how much time each day you are on various apps make you excited or terrified?
    2. Do you think it is better to have a device or a parent warn you that you’ve spent your allotted time on your game or social media?
    3. Sleep deprivation has shot up over the past five years—currently, over 50% of 15-year to 18-year-olds report getting less than 7 hours of sleep most nights (the recommended amount of sleep for this age range is 9 hours). Do you think the Screen Time tool can help reduce sleep deprivation?

    For more discussion ideas, you can peruse past Tech Talk Tuesdays. If you are interested in seeing Screenagers, you can find event listings on our site and find out how to host a screening

    Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on FacebookTwitter and at 


    Delaney Ruston, MD
    Screenagers' Filmmaker

    Comments (-1)
  • Talking Points for 13 Reasons Why Season 2

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 5/15/2018

    Many parents and staff were concerned about the Netflix show, "13 Reasons Why". This series portrayed very graphic and mature content about suicide, and other teen issues in a very glamorized way. 

    There are several reasons why this series may not be appropriate for teens to watch. The following article helps adults to have talking points about the show when approached by youth. It also provides students with information about why the series may be inappropriate for teen audiences. I hope you find these helpful.

    Talking Points for 13 Reasons Why


    Rather than focus on the 13 Reasons Why... Let's focus more on the 13 Reasons Why Not!  Let's focus on the positiveness of resilency and hope rather than on suicide and violence.  Here are 13 stories of individuals who found hope and reasons "why not" to commit suicide.

    13 Reasons Why NOT!

    Comments (-1)
  • Below the Surface Postesrs

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 5/1/2018



    What are thos brightly colored posters all about? Well....District 49 has partnered with NAMI (National Allilance of Mental Illness) and the Colorado Crisis Services to provide mental health support to our high school students.

    The posters, cards, and stickers were the result of teens in the region working with NAMI to come up with ideas of how to get high school students to access the mental health support lines. The teens suggested that a text option be added as this is their main means of communication. Many teens indicated that they did not want to call or talk to a mental health provider but would be more inclined to access the hotline if they could simply text. This is how the Below the Surface campaign began.

    It is called Below the Surface because the teens indicated that on the surface they may seem like everything is OK. But, just below the surface their may be hurt, anxiety, depression, etc. The posters reflect some of the emotions and ideas the teens came up with. The posters are designed to be able to be seen from far away so that individuals don't have to stand right in front of the poster to get the number to text. 

    Teachers and other staff will have business type cards to provide students that match the format of the posters. Often, students will go to teachers, coaches, or security staff before accessing counseling services. When a staff member begins these types of conversations there is often concern about what to do or say. Staff also worry about student's needs after school and weekends. By having the cards to provide to students, staff can encourage the students to access the text number for more focused support.

    When a student texts TALK to 38255, a masters level mental health provider who has been through hours of training is on the other end. They are availabe 24/7 and will text back immediately. They may ask for the school you attend but this is not required. However, it does help us to determine the effectiveness of the poster campaign. If the student wants to talk to a person rather than text, they can also call the Colorado Crisis line at 1-844-493-8255. 

    The purpose of this text line is to support students, and others, through any kind of difficulty. Can't sleep- text; Frustrated with your friends- text, Anxious about a test- text; Frustrated with parents- text; Suicidal- TEXT. 

    This service is not just for teens. Adults can access the line as well. So, if you are having difficulty and just need someone to talk to, sound off with, or just listen- Text TALK to 38255.



    Comments (-1)
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 4/2/2018

    So there's been a lot of talk about ACEs scores. What is that? What does that mean?


    ACE's stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and stems from a huge research study done over several years that linked specific childhood experiences that impacted adult physical and mental health. 


    As a district, we are trying to recognize how these experiences may impact our student's behavior and ability to be open to learning experiences. Through Restorative Practices and a Truama Informed Care model, we can better serve our students by meeting their social and emotional needs. 


    Here is a link to a 5 minute video providing an overview of ACES and Trauma Informed Care.


    ACES- 5 minute video

    Comments (-1)
  • Supporting my child's grief

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 3/22/2018

    It is common for people to have a variety of behaviors during grief. Some may be angry, some may be solemn, some may have sleep issues, lack of appetite or eat more, and some may even laugh or make inappropriate jokes about the situation. If your child is exhibiting these symptoms, or their behavior has changed drastically and this does not resolve within a week or so, please seek mental health support through your private mental health provider or community resources.


    Although it may seem strange, sometimes after losing someone, people become suicidal in their own grief. It’s important to keep a close eye on someone in grief to keep them safe as well. While not an exhaustive list, if your child is exhibiting some of the following signs of suicidal ideation, please seek mental health supports:


    • Talking about suicide and death- making comments
    • Giving away cherished items
    • Saying goodbye to people
    • Not being interested in things that previously brought them pleasure
    • Drop in grades
    • Withdrawing from friends and family
    • Mood swings
    • Personality changes (severe anxiety, depressions, agitation)
    • Acting recklessly

    (For a more exhaustive list go to Mayo Clinic- Suicidal Thoughts)


    If you have concerns about your child, please seek help. Below is a list of resources.


    • Call 911 for an Emergency
    • Colorado Crisis Support
      • Call 1-844-493-8255
      • Text “TALK” 38255
      • Chat online
    • Suicide Prevention Website
    • Crisis Stabilization Unit- Open 24/7 Walk in 
      • Aspen Pointe Woodmen 
        6071 East Woodmen Rd, Suite 135
        Francis Medical Center, North Care Bldg.
        Colorado Springs
    Comments (-1)
  • 3 Easy Tips for Parents

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 3/13/2018

    Being a parent can be difficult and knowing what to do to help your child can be a struggle. Here are 3 easy tips to help you have a positive relationship with your child and help you and your child have positive interactions. 

    1. Positive Physical Touch:

    Children need about 8 to 10 postiive, physical contacts each day. This helps them feel connected to their parent. This can be a hug, a high five, a pat on the back or even just an adjustment of their collar. If your child is having a difficult time, increase physical contact with them to 12-15 times per day. 


    2. Eye to Eye Meaningful Conversations:

    Each day try to have at least one meaningful eye to eye conversation with your child. During this time try to free your space of distractions like the cell phone or TV. Make it a personal check in and ask open ended questions about things they are doing or like. Even babies need to have eye to eye contact with their parents. Parents can simply just talk to their infants/toddlers while engaging their eye contact. 


    3. Certain TImes of Day are Important:

    There are certain times of day where you as a parent can make a big impact on your child's day and life. Within 3-5 minutes after they wake up make a physical contact with your child. Physically be in the room and speak with them about their day or give them a hug. Make that personal contact if even for a moment to start their day.

    When children come home from school it is important to check in with them about their day. This can easily be done in the car on the way home or when they get off the bus. Ask open ended questions about their day and tell them about your day. It's important for children to know that their parents have lives too and should ask about them.

    Many of us have tried to get our children to talk about their day and have just gotten one and two word responses. Here are few ideas for questions to get a conversation going and to find out about their day.


    - What made you smile today?

    - Give me an example of how you were kind today.

    - Who did you play with at recess and what did you do?

    - Tell me something you learned today that you didn't know yesterday.

    - What made your teacher smile today?

    - What was the best thing about your day?

    - What was something different about today than from yesterday?


    By trying some of these simple activities/strategies, you can have a great relationship with your child! Let me know how it goes.

    Comments (-1)
  • Drug Trends Power Point

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 2/26/2018
    Comments (-1)
  • Community Directory

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 1/30/2018 4:00:00 PM

    The following link provides some information about community supports in El Paso County. This is by no means an exhaustive list but may provide some information to help you find services in the region. 


    Community Directory

    Comments (-1)
  • District 49 Supports and Programs Directory

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 1/30/2018 4:00:00 PM

    District 49 has many services and supports for our students, staff and families. Please use the link below to access a spreadsheet of supports in D49.


    District 49 Services and Support Directory

    Comments (-1)
  • Child Mind Institute

    Posted by Kim Boyd on 1/19/2018 11:00:00 AM

    I ran across this website the other day and thought it was interesting and helpful. It has articles and other supports for parents. Check it out.


    Child Mind Institute

    Comments (-1)