Monday, January 10, 2011

The Problem isn't Facebook, It's the Users who Misuse

About three hours ago, I wrote a blog post about a class project I was working on where students had to create pretend Facebook pages for characters in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. After posting, I hopped on Twitter to send the link out to my followers. Surprisingly, one of the recent tweets from someone who I follow also had to do with the topic of Facebook. It was a link to the ABC News story of 6 middle school girls arressted after creating a Facebook event titled “Attack a Teacher Day.” Needless to say, it was an interesting juxtaposition to my post proclaiming the value in harnassing the social network’s popularity among students.

This is a perfect opportunity for a teachable moment.

We must remember that the problem is not the technology, but those who use it maliciously. Back in the days of note-passing, you wouldn’t blame the pencil for a bit of slander scrawled on a piece of paper, would you?

It must be our job as educators and parents to be positive role models when dealing with social media. The solution to problems such as the girls in Nevada isn’t blocking Facebook – it’s educating students abut the difference between wrong and right on the web.

One silver lining to this – the article says the girls invited 100 people to the “Attack a Teacher Day” event. Only 18 responded. This means 82% either ignored it or deleted the invitation. Hopefully this is a sign of fledgling digital citizenship.

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