New Poll Reveals How Young Children Are Using Social Media and Messaging Apps

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Dec. 5, 2017)—National PTA released today the results of a national poll exploring the use of social media and messaging apps among young children. The poll, which surveyed 1,200 parents of children under the age of 13, was conducted in collaboration with Facebook earlier this year through Lincoln Park Strategies. The findings show that the majority of parents allow their children to use messaging apps and social media to stay in touch with friends and family.

“Helping children navigate the digital world has become a crucial element of parenting,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “Through the poll, we explored the prevalence of young children using social media and messaging apps and gauged how they are using these tools. The results make our efforts to empower parents to help their children be safe and responsible online that much more important.”

Key findings revealed that:

  • 61% of parents said their children under age 13 use messaging apps and/or social media.
  • 81% of parents said their children started using social media between the ages of eight and 13.
  • 64% of parents whose children under 13 use social media say that it provides convenient ways to keep in touch and keep track of their children when they are not with them; 61% of parents whose children under 13 use messaging apps feel similarly.
  • 57% of children who use social media are using their own device, and 58% of children who use messaging apps are using their own device.

Through the poll, parents also reported wanting to help their young children use social media and messaging apps responsibly—nearly nine in 10 say that they monitor their children’s online activities. More than half of parents said they would not allow their children to use social media and messaging apps without monitoring tools. However, parents reported they’d like to have a greater say in their young child’s use of social media and messaging apps: nearly three-quarters of parents whose children use messaging apps indicated that they want more control.

Despite online safety concerns such as bullying, parents believe messaging apps and social media can help keep their children safe and can provide good tools for learning. Poll results also show that connecting with family is the primary reason parents allow their young children to use messaging and social media apps.

  • 68% of parents agreed that messaging apps help them connect as a family.
  • 69% of parents said their children use social media to communicate with relatives such as grandparents and cousins.

“As parents, we want our children to connect, learn and have fun through technology, and at the same time, stay safe,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “Learning about how families are using social media and messaging apps is a critical component to helping them take advantage of the opportunities that the tools offer while building good digital habits and ensuring children have the skills they need to be responsible in the digital world.”

As part of National PTA’s ongoing digital safety efforts, the association encourages families to have open, ongoing conversations about devices and technology use and establish ground rules together using The Smart Talk. National PTA remains committed to helping parents empower their children to become smart digital citizens in an increasingly connected world.

To read the survey results from Lincoln Park Strategies, visit PTA.org.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.

Media Contact

Heidi May Wilson, National PTA

hmay@pta.org, (703) 518-1242


National PTA Announces Take Your Family to School Week Grant Program

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Oct. 30, 2017)—National PTA announced today that $55,000 in funding will be awarded to PTAs across the country to promote family engagement in education during Take Your Family to School WeekFeb. 11-17, 2018. Through an application process, 55 local PTAs will be selected to receive grants of $1,000 each.

“Family engagement in education is proven to positively impact student, school and community outcomes,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA is excited to equip PTAs with resources to get more families involved in their child’s education, particularly as part of Take Your Family to School Week.”

With the grants, PTAs and schools will host family engagement events during Take Your Family to School Week that focus on:

  • Engaging whole families in reading activities to support children’s literacy skills and help foster a love of reading
  • Empowering families with tools to adopt more active, healthy lifestyles
  • Showcasing how students use technology in the classroom and encouraging technology access and digital learning at home

The deadline to apply for the Take Your Family to School Week grants is Nov. 17, 2017. The grants are made possible by support from PTA Proud National Sponsors the all-new Chrysler Pacifica and Google Chromebooks.

National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week is designed to encourage families to visit their child’s school and get more involved in their education as well as strengthen partnerships between parents, teachers and administrators. The timing of the week honors the day PTA was founded, Feb. 17, 1897.

“For over 120 years, National PTA has been encouraging families to get more involved in their child’s education as it makes a difference for students, schools and communities,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week reinforces PTA’s long legacy and mission to promote children’s educational success, health and well-being through strong family engagement.”

For more information about Take Your Family to School Week and to apply for the grants, visit PTA.org/TYFTSW.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.

Media Contact

Heidi May Wilson, National PTA

hmay@PTA.org(703) 518-1242


National PTA President Jim Accomando Participates in Capitol Hill Press Conference on Gun Violence

PTA Leaders,

We are pleased to share with you that National PTA President Jim Accomando was invited to bring the voice of families and child advocates to Capitol Hill in a press conference on gun violence with Senators Patty Murray and Ed Markey, Brady Campaign Co-President Kris Brown, American Public Health Association Deputy Executive Director Susan Polan and Injury Free Coalition for Kids Co-Director Dr. Mike Hirsh.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report on the effectiveness of firearm storage awareness programs and the need for increased funding for gun violence prevention research. The report found the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s ASK (Asking Saves Kids) program to be the most effective national safe storage awareness program.

President Accomando’s participation in the press conference was an important opportunity to demonstrate our association’s dedication to preventing and eliminating gun violence in schools, communities and at home to keep children safe. It was also an important opportunity to show our commitment to advocating for legislation and appropriations to research the causes and effects of gun violence, as adopted during our 2017 Convention in Las Vegas through the amendment to our resolution on the Sale, Resale and Destruction of Firearms. Further, it was a critical moment to show our support for our partner the Brady Campaign and its ASK program.

Please find below a press release on the GAO report with a quote included from President Accomando.

Best regards,

Heidi May Wilson | Senior Manager, Media Relations, National PTA

For Immediate Release

Contact: James Tyll, (202) 370-8131 media@bradymail.org

GAO Report Validates Brady Center’s ASK Program As Most Effective National Safe Storage Awareness Program

Notes Discrepancy in Funding for Gun Violence Research Relative to Gun Violence Mortality Rates

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report on the effectiveness of firearm storage awareness programs, ultimately finding the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s “ASK” program to be the only national safe storage program that has been independently evaluated and found to be effective. The report, entitled “Personal Firearms: Programs that Promote Safe Storage and Research on their Effectiveness,” was prepared over a two-year period in response to a request by the Congressional HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee.

The report also points out that funding for gun violence prevention research is disproportionately low relative to health issues with comparative mortality rates. According to the report, government-funded research for gun violence is .7 percent of that for sepsis, which has a comparable mortality rate, and the publication volume for studies on firearm-related deaths is about four percent of that for sepsis.

Brady Campaign co-President Kris Brown heralded the release of the report. “The GAO’s findings confirm what we at Brady have long known—ASKing saves lives. Each day, seven children are killed by guns. 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. It’s crucial to know which programs work to spread awareness of guns in the home. At the same time, the report’s finding of the lack of funding of gun violence research relative to other health issues is alarming. Gun violence is an epidemic — and we need to attack it like every other public health epidemic — through research and data tracking to fund programs that work.”

The report evaluated 16 programs, both regional and national, that are aimed at spreading awareness of the importance of safe storage of firearms. Brady’s ASK campaign was found to be the only national program that effectively promotes awareness of safe storage through its parent-centered program that urges caregivers and parents to ask if there are guns safely stored in the homes where their children play. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, aimed directly at young children, was found to have no effect on participating children’s behavior around guns.

“Child and school safety starts at home. When families store their guns responsibly, they’re much less likely to end up in schools and tragedies are less likely to occur. It is critical that guns are kept safely away from kids and that we, as parents, ask if there are guns in the homes where our children play,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA is proud to support the ASK campaign and collaborate with Brady to help prevent gun-related incidents and keep children safe. The association is also committed to advocating for legislation and appropriations to research the causes and effects of gun violence. In order to fully understand and address this epidemic gripping our nation, we need to first understand the causal relationships and the effects such violence has on our communities.”

HELP Senate Committee leaders lauded the report’s findings.

“There is so much we can and absolutely should be doing to address gun violence—but as this report makes clear, one simple, critical step is to gain a better understanding of how to encourage the safe storage of guns,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).“I’m hopeful that every Senator will take a close look at the findings in this nonpartisan report, and join Democrats, the Brady Campaign, and families nationwide in pushing for stronger investments in gun violence research.”

“If we want to stop this tragic scourge of gun violence, we need better information about what is causing it and what can be done to prevent it,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “We need to study gun violence like the public health crisis that it is. This new GAO report outlines how important it is to give the medical, scientific, and public health community the resources they need and support a federal research agenda into gun violence. I thank the Brady campaign for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make critical investments in protecting lives.”

Brady’s ASK campaign, developed in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), raises awareness among parents about the importance of asking if there are guns where their children play, to ensure guns stay out of kids’ hands. The program also emphasizes the importance of medical and health professionals to talk to parents and patients about guns in the home, gun safety and safe storage. For more information about the program, visit http://www.askingsaveskids.org/.

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 The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz. About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history – The Million Mom March, Mother’s Day 2000.


National PTA Honors Excellence in Building Inclusive School Communities

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Oct. 10, 2017)—National PTA is pleased to recognize 143 schools and PTAs from across the country as 2017-2019 Schools of Excellence. The National PTA School of Excellence designation honors accomplishments in building an inclusive and welcoming school community where all families contribute to the educational experience and overall well-being for all students.

“Research shows that when families and schools work together, students do better in school and schools improve,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “We are pleased to recognize these schools and PTAs as 2017-2019 Schools of Excellence for their commitment to strengthening their family-school partnerships and creating an environment where all families feel welcomed and empowered to support student success.”

National PTA’s School of Excellence program helps PTAs become partners in identifying and implementing school improvement initiatives based on PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Schools that exhibit improvement at the end of the school year are honored as National PTA Schools of Excellence, a distinction that spans two years.

In addition to the 2017-2019 School of Excellence designation, National PTA is delighted to recognize three PTAs with the 2017 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Awards for Innovation in Family Engagement—the highest honor presented by the association to celebrate family engagement. Cobb Middle School PTA in Frisco, Texas has been honored with the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Family-School Partnership Award. Maritime and Science Technology (MAST) Academy PTSA in Miami, Fla. and Forest Park High School PTSA in Conley, Ga. have been honored with the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Award of Merit.

“The efforts of Cobb Middle School PTA, MAST Academy PTSA and Forest Park High School PTSA are making a substantial, positive impact on family engagement, student success and school improvement,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We are pleased to honor these PTAs with the 2017 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Awards and 2017-2019 National PTA School of Excellence designation.”

Enrollment is now open for the School of Excellence program and consideration of the 2018-2020 School of Excellence designation. The deadline to enroll is Oct. 15. For more information about the program and to enroll, visit PTA.org/Excellence.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.

Media Contact

Heidi May Wilson, National PTA

hmay@pta.org(703) 518-1242


Support Families and School Communities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

This message is being sent on behalf of National PTA President Jim Accomando

PTA Leaders,

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are facing an unprecedented crisis. The islands were heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma, and before they had a chance to recover, Hurricane Maria hit and devastated any remaining structures and supports.

Families and school communities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands need our support now more than ever.

Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria were the strongest storms to hit the islands in decades—families remain without power and access to basic necessities and schools remain closed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families, educators, schools and communities affected, particularly all of our PTA families. We acknowledge the leadership of Puerto Rico PTA President Vivian Ruiz and Virgin Islands PTA President Richard Muhammad during this difficult time. We are deeply concerned for everyone impacted and encourage all of our members to rally together to assist families and help restore communities and learning environments as quickly as possible.

We urge everyone to donate to our association’s Disaster Relief Fund, which was established to respond to tragedies that grievously disrupt a school or education system. One hundred percent of donations to the fund will go directly to PTAs and schools in need and will help provide important supplies for students and teachers when schools reopen.

We also encourage our members to donate basic necessities and/or make a financial contribution to theAmerican Red Cross, Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster or other similar organizations to help the children and families that need it most.

Please share this message with PTAs, members and families in your state to help spread the word about ways to support families and school communities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in their efforts to rebuild and recover. Please watch for more information on additional ways to support the recovery efforts.

The need to give has never been greater and our mission at PTA has become that much more important.

Thank you for your support of those impacted by this unprecedented hurricane season and for everything you do to give our children and school communities what they need to thrive.

Jim Accomando

National PTA President


Opportunity – STEM + Families applications due Oct 26

There is another opportunity for grant money for STEM + Families grants!

For Local PTAs: National PTA STEM + Families Science Grants (Bayer)

  • The 2017 National PTA STEM + Families Science Grants will award $1,000 to 30 local PTAs to host a STEM + Families Science Festival
  • All elementary and middle school PTAs are eligible provided they can host their event during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • In addition to the $1000 grant, National PTA and Bayer will provide awardees with a starter pack of $400 worth of materials to give PTAs a jump-start on collecting the supplies needed for your Science Festival.
  • www.pta.org/STEM

National PTA STEM + Families Game Giveaways (ThinkFun)

  • Looking for cool new ideas to host an exciting PTA family game night? Let National PTA and ThinkFun help!
  • Complete a short survey for your chance to win 48 FREE award-winning learning games from ThinkFun.  Use 36 games to host a STEM + Families Game Night and 12 more as prizes.
  • This is a GIVEAWAY! That means winners will be chosen at random from ALL PTAs that submit a survey!
  • www.pta.org/STEM