Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Think Before You Post

In our cohort two sessions tomorrow, we’ll be spending a little bit of time on evaluating websites (using some of Alan November’s stuff). In addition, I thought I’d show this video to spur some additional conversation regarding some of the other things we should be talking about with our students.

Downloadable Version (Quicktime, 6 MB, 1:03)

Some interesting conversation has already occurred on Miguel’s blog, and I think it would be worth your time to read through the posts and the comments (read this one, then this one, then this one, and finally this one).

Two takeaways for me:
  1. How do we effectively educate our students regarding the irrevocability of anything they post online?

  2. As Miguel asks, "What should the girl in the video do next?"


  1. I have a hard time with this--particularly when a person who makes a conscious choice is compared to a victim of rape. In my opinion, rape is the worst thing you could do to another human being other than murder them--this seems a little lesser crime. Secondly, this "cyber bullying" situation involves an element of choice that rape does not.
    I don't think we are giving our kids enough credit--I think they know the possible consequences and are either unconcerned ("it won't happen to me") or enjoy the opportunity to be exhibitionists. I agree that we should take more responsibility reminding students of the possible consequences when they make these choices, and I agree this "cyber bullying" is unfortunate, but to say it's the same as rape diminishes the element of choice that is inherent in this "crime". People being raped don't make a choice--people posting their photos on the internet do.
    I realize that sometimes people's photos are published by friends and that this is not a choice, but maybe this negative facet of the cyberage will be a blessing in disguise--it might just help kids realize that there are consequences, sometimes permanent ones for the poor choices they make. I know this is harsh and they are just kids, but if they don't want those permanent consequences, maybe this will help them make the right ones.

  2. Lauren - I would suggest that you might want to comment on either Elona's post or Miguel's post, since that's where this particularly part of the conversation occurred.

    In this space, I'm more interested in the two questions I posed: how do we effectively educate our students about this, and how do we help students once something like this has happened?

  3. Oh you're no fun. :)

    I find myself wondering if it would be beneficial to create a "freshmen orientation" class of sorts. One that my teach them skills necessary to be successful--how to study, how to take notes, how to use the internet "properly", etc.
    I think most (and I include myself in that statement) make the assumption that these are skills our kids have, particularly when it comes to technology and the web; they are younger than us and therfore they know these technologies better. That does not seem to be the case. I think a class like that that our students would have to take as freshmen as a requirement would ensure that knowledge base for our students.

  4. How do we effectively educate our students regarding the irrevocability of anything they post online? Karl, that a difficult question. I think that schools and parents need to work together on this.

    I don't think that teachers just telling kids about the facts is the most effective way.I think we need lots of hype. Maybe some type of multimedia presentation by teenagers and young adults geared to the students could engage the kids and make them aware of the issues and of the intended and unintended consequences. We've had these types of presentations on other issues like drunk driving and work place safety and they were well received and generated lots of discussion.

    I believe a unit on internet use and possible issues should be worked into the curriculum so that kids could be made aware of potential problems and know how to protect themselves. We've taught our kids how to be street safe. Now, we have to teach them how to be digital highway safe.

    I am concerned that although kids may be aware of the dangers but think that nothing would happen to them. We've all read about adults who post things on-line that comes back to bite them. Thsy didn't realize that employers, family and friends all have access to what was posted. Some employers even Google prospective employees names to learn more about them. Ouch, in some cases. I can only hope that if teenagers post something that comes back to bite them, it's only a nibble.

  5. We can talk with them about the possible repercussions of posting a picture (or anything) online, but most teenagers are treating this like the "Don't smoke/do drugs/have sex/bully/cheat" conversations we've been having with them for years. I believe we have to make this sort of thing part of our daily conversations. There are quite a few ad campaigns out there already and we need to not only create more PSA's but engage our students in creating them as well. Teachers can use these to further integrate the idea of "irrevocability" by sharing real world examples of common problems with posting personal info on the Internet, leaving voicemail messages in anger and sending angry emails. Something else to consider, is this whole idea of "Think Before You Speak" new? Or are we just seeing additional (more current) reasons this old adage is not only still true but more relevant than ever?