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Helping Kids Navigate the Social Scene: Why Teaching Elementary Students Social Filtering Matters

Helping Kids Navigate the Social Scene: Why Teaching Elementary Students Social Filtering Matters

In a world where social interactions happen both online and offline, it’s super important to teach elementary kids about something called using a “social filter.”

Social filtering is basically knowing how to adjust your behavior and what you say based on who you’re with and the situation you’re in. It’s like having a built-in filter for your words and actions in different social settings. It’s the ability to understand whether the words that you are thinking are okay to say out loud or whether you need to keep them inside your mind. So basically, should I think it or say it?

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Now, why is this such a big deal for elementary students?

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  • Making Friends and Being Nice: Learning about social filtering helps kids understand how their actions and words can affect others. This makes it easier for them to make friends and be nice to everyone around them.
  • Dealing with Drama: Knowing when to speak up and when to stay cool helps kids avoid unnecessary drama. They learn to solve problems without making a big fuss, which is a handy skill for life.
  • Being Smart Online: With social filtering, kids learn to think before they post online. They get why it’s important to be kind and respectful, even when they’re chatting or playing games on the internet.
  • Doing Better in School: When kids know how to talk and listen respectfully, they do better in school. They’re more likely to join in class discussions, work well with others, and stay focused on learning.

So, how can we teach students how to use a social filter?

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  1. Lead by Example: Adults can show kids how it’s done by being good listeners and using nice words. Kids learn a lot from watching us in action.
  2. Try Acting it Out: Get the kids involved in some role-playing games. It’s a fun way for them to practice using their social filter in different situations.
  3. Talk About It: Let’s have some real talk about social filtering. Use simple words and share stories to help kids understand why it’s important to think before they speak.
  4. Give Feedback: When kids make mistakes, it’s cool to gently point it out and help them see how they can do better next time.

Why Using a Social Filter Matters

In a nutshell, teaching elementary students about social filtering sets them up for success in friendships, school, and life in general. It’s all about helping them be kind, smart, and awesome human beings, both online and offline. So, let’s get chatting and filtering with the little ones, making the world a friendlier and happier place for everyone!

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Resource for Teaching about Social Filters:

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This packet of materials begins by teaching the basic concept of using a ‘social filter’ and then allows the students to practice this skill through a variety of interactive task cards and digital activities. Students can also self-monitor their words to self assess whether they said the right thing in a variety of different social situations.

Click on the link below for more information and details about teaching social language and using a social filter.

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My name is Dee, and I am a General Education teacher turned school level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Combining my time in the classroom and my work as a BCBA, I have over 18 years of experience working directly with students with autism, ADHD, ODD, Intellectual Disabilities, Speech Language Impairments, and other social skills deficits. I look forward to sharing ideas with you.

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