Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do kids know who they are posting to?

From the readings for this week, one that really stuck out to me was the video Everyone Knows Your Name. The short video really tells so much about the way people, young teens in particular use social networking sites and other websites to post things. You don’t even realize that the people knowing Sara’s name came because of something she posted online until the end. But I think what is key here is that, at first she liked the attention then as it snowballed she got more uncomfortable with it and it’s obvious looking at her facial expressions that she had no idea any of this could or would happen from posting things online. I think that is something that people don’t think about when posting things online. Although really, it is so easy to forget that whatever pictures, videos, or writing that you post online can be seen by countless numbers of people, that is the nature of the internet. I think if people had to stand in front of an audience and do all the things they post online they wouldn’t. But because people can sit behind their computer screens, they may be inclined to do or write things that they would never do in public and yet the internet is a public place. It can provide a false sense of privacy and security for people.

I think for classroom purposes that can sometimes be beneficial if I am trying to hear what all of my students have to say and some of them are really shy about speaking in front of the whole class. Using the internet can be a great way to give voice to students who are usually too shy. But it is obvious that a conversation needs to be had, about the issue of privacy in online interactions if teachers really want to use this technology in the classroom. Even if teachers don’t want to use this kind of web based technology I think this is still an important conversation because kids really need to understand the consequences of using online technology. Since technology is something that pretty much all students are going to come into contact with at some point during their lifetime they need to be educated on how to be safe on the internet, that includes watching what gets posted. Kids don’t realize or think about the fact that future employers may go and look at their facebook page and see things they posted in college or high school that could affect their jobs. As an English major this seems to me to be a great lesson about audience and how a whole new kind of audience is emerging through the use of the internet.


  1. Heather,

    I think that you make extremely valid points in your post. It is really scary to think about all the attention that students get from things that they post online. I feel that this is how many serious problems occur with this technology. Students do need to understand the safety and security that revolves around the things that you share on the internet.

    In my one class today, we discussed the effects that Facebook, in particular, can have on teachers and students. We analyzed one case where a student messaged the teacher a very personal message about her parents getting divorced and the teacher, trying to help, sent her a return message. This led to a very inappropriate message from the student about relationships. I think that if students are taught about their responsibilities with the internet and social networking sites, than this type of thing would happen less frequently. So in connecting to your post more directly, teaching students how to use the internet properly is important for all students, whether you are using technology in your classroom or not.


  2. I agree; everything you do online sort of becomes public play. The internet is something most if not all students are familiar with. Young kids have cell phones at 9, which all have the internet now. It is such a norm, so people need to educate their kids on it. Instead of it being a taboo topic, which despite change, many schools feel it is, schools need to educate their kids on using social networking. In Belleville last year kids wrote on their Facebooks statuses something about bombing the school or whatever. Whether it was done as a joke, another student contacted the police and those students were arrested. What you write, if harmful, will not be seen as a joke. It is important to even read Facebook's rules to the class, how they keep your information, how they own it, how it can be used by cops whenever. Make the students aware that their actions online won't be gone with the press of the backspace button.

  3. Heather, I think you make some very interesting points in your post. I agree the "Everyone knows my name" video was very powerful. Would some people believe the video to be a bit over the top? Possibly, but that is because they are choosing to take the "it would never happen to me" point of view. Some of our students might even agree with this statement. However, the video is clear in making its point that when people choose to post pictures, update their statuses, or tweet about what they are currently doing they are inviting the entire world into their personal lives. To take the "it would never happen to me" perspective is naive because in today's world you never know what is going to happen. This is why it is so important that we educate our students on the risks they take when communicating online. Using common sense and becoming aware of the possible implications of using certain tools online is the first step in protecting yourself. Our students will come across many situations where they will choose to take risks. It is our job to make sure we guide them to make the best decisions for themselves that will ensure their safety.

  4. I strongly agree that these privacy issues need to be taught to students (and some adults I know). Students don't seem to realize that when they offer this information on the web that not only are people seeing it that they might not want seeing it, but everything that goes online can become permanent very quickly. If a student posts a picture one night as a joke. That lack of judgement can quickly turn into a mistake they can't just erase by taking the photo down. As teachers we need to teach our students about the reality of the internet and how they can protect themselves.