An expert in psychology will talk to Williston Northampton students and parents about social media use during special sessions on December 12 and 13.
Abigail Judge is an instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and practices clinical and child forensic psychology in Cambridge. Her work at Harvard examines adolescent sexual behavior and how it relates to social media, digital technologies, and the law. She has published articles on topics such as “sexting” and is the editor of a forthcoming book on the issue, Adolescent Sexual Behavior in the Digital Age: Considerations for Clinicians, Legal Professionals and Educators.
Dr. Judge said her approach was developed in response to “scared straight” stories she heard on the news. The reports were alarmist, she explained in a statement about her work, and caused anxiety among families rather than helping parents and teenagers talk about the issues.
“In my experience, parents benefit from practical suggestions about how to discuss
social media with their children,” she wrote. “To address these concerns, I base my presentations on my work as a clinical psychologist… [and] a clinical approach I find effective with teenagers and parents in my own practice.”
During her discussion with Williston parents, which will take place on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m. in Whitaker-Bement, Dr. Judge will offer tips for how parents can discuss social media use with their children, identify causes for concern, and overcome digital age dilemmas. Parents are also invited to stay after the presentation for a wine reception with Dr. Judge.
On Friday morning, Dr. Judge will address students at an all-school assembly. During the assembly, she’ll use clips from popular movies and television shows to discuss topics such as emotion recognition, empathy, and responsible social media use.
“Rather than simply telling teenagers what not to do, I use psychology to explain what makes decision making during adolescence so complicated,” Dr. Judge explained. She added that understanding their emotions can help teenagers become more responsible when it comes to digital media.
Please note: The sessions with Dr. Judge are limited to the Williston community and are not open to the general public.