Who will teach them social networking safety?
Will Richardson expressed exasperation with a school leader in a recent post as he tried to blame parents for student misbehavior on FaceBook or MySpace. He proposed the schools need to play a big role:
There is a solution to this, one that we all know, but one that for some reason few seem willing to implement other than in the guise of a “parent awareness night” or some type of scary Internet predator presentation by a state policeman. For the life of me, I can’t understand what is so hard about opening up the first and second and third grade curriculum and find ways to integrate these skills and literacies in a systemic way. If you want kids to be educated about these tools and environments, then maybe we should, um, educate them.
He suggests that we not just talk to them about the dangers of the Internet and social networking, rather we integrate these tools in an age appropriate way from an early age.
As I posted earlier, using social networking is valuable for teaching Internet safety. These new literacies are the reality of our kids’ world and future. They are not going to disappear. Like the books we read, they can be used for good or evil. We need to harness these technologies for learning and promote their use as positive forces.
While parents should play a role, many simply do not understand these technologies. Congress has just passed a bill mandating instruction of social networking safety and cyberbullying. Since we must do it, we should do it in a way that is real and relevant, and in a way that teaches new literacies while harnessing their potential.
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