Let’s share…but carefully!

This week’s debate topic focused on whether openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids. This particular topic was very interesting to me, as I am an individual who attempts to stay up to date with the latest apps and social media. As a teacher, I always use caution before sharing anything online. Whether it be pictures or opinionated posts, I ask my-self “Who will see this beyond my ‘Friends’ list and how will it affect me? Perhaps this extreme sense of caution was instilled by my parents, who always felt (and still feel today) that sharing online is dangerous due to Identify Fraud or Online Shaming. However after Tuesday evening’s debate, I realized that sharing online presents both Pro’s and Con’s, depending how it is utilized. Before Tuesday, I had never “Googled” my-self. After doing this, I was quite surprised to see two photos of my-self that I am assuming are from my Facebook Account. By “Googleing” my-self, I became slightly overwhelmed with the reality that the information we choose to share online will always be accessible. Therefore, we need to show caution when sharing online as we are responsible for creating our own Digital Footprint and possibly a negative reputation for ourselves within the online world.

As a teacher, I often hear the many ways students (specifically teenagers) are sharing online. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are brought up on a daily basis. Although my school does not permit the use of cellphones, students are still sharing outside of school. In most cases, children are sharing pictures and personal information about themselves with little or no parental supervision. Now a days, it is simple and convenient for children to access social media. However, it is crucial for both parents and their children to be attentive of the apps or social media programs they are using as some can be potentially dangerous when it comes to sharing online. With that being said, here are some of the valuable points addressed during the debate by both the Agree and Disagree teams:

Pro’s of Sharing Online
• Students are able to take pride in their work and give their best effort when they share their work online
• Students are given a voice
• Online sharing within schools provides students with the opportunity to practice sharing in a safe and controlled environment, so they can learn how to share properly
• Teachers can focus on teaching about internet safety and how to create strong passwords
• We are preparing students for the world that currently exists
• Employers are able to locate you for job opportunities
• Students can learn how to prepare for and handle risky situations involving online sharing
• Value of sharing and receiving student feed back
• Changes students world views

Con’s of Sharing Online
• Digital Footprints and Facial Recognition Ex: VK.COM (Russian Facebook)
• Online Shaming and Cyber-Bullying
• Raises awareness for Identity Fraud
• Children taking pictures of others and sharing them online without consent
• Technology and sharing is not going away anytime soon, therefore we can learn to accept it and adapt
• Openly sharing invades individual identity and children’s safety is put at risk Ex: Tracking
• Adding to the path of others by sharing without consent Ex: Images

As teachers, it is essential that we learn about Digital Citizenship as well as the importance of Digital Footprints if we are going to share students work online. As part of incorporating technological learning, teachers are required to educate students about Digital Fluency, focusing on privacy protection, rights and responsibilities and respective online behavior. Furthermore, we must be vigilant in helping students learn how to share and model the sharing process for them effectively. Children need to be reminded that when they share something online, they are contributing towards their online identity and are unable to prevent the people who sees or reads what they have posted. One of the most important points addressed during the debate was parental supervision. It is crucial for parents to be aware of the different types of social media/apps their children are using. In doing so, they may educate their children about sharing and how to do it responsibly. Finally, if both teachers and parents take the time to educate themselves about what it means to be good digital citizens, our knowledge and influences will encourage our students to be as well.

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5 thoughts on “Let’s share…but carefully!

  1. Great post Roxanne! I too am careful about what I post online and always ask who will see this and how will it affect my footprint? I think parents need to be on the same page, but for most it’s difficult for them to understand social media when they aren’t on it themselves. I think that a parent information night would be excellent for most schools to host. I am hoping to try and do one next year when I go back to school. I think it will help a lot of parents have a better understanding of social media. Parents also need to understand that it’s not all negative…I feel like a lot of older people think that social media is a waste of time but it is vital for them to understand what draws kids to it and how it can be a positive thing if we are teaching students to use it properly.

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    • I agree…I think we live in a bit of a “fear culture” where the older generations see all the risks to using social media. Are there risks? Absolutely, but we can use our younger generations to highly the many benefits of using social media to creative positive digital presences.

      “Furthermore, we must be vigilant in helping students learn how to share and model the sharing process for them effectively.” I love this thought, Roxanne! We need to model these positive behaviours constantly for our students.

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  2. GREAT post Roxanne! I love how you approach the notion of digital citizenship and fluency as a true community effort. It is not simply up to the teachers or parents, but a combination of everything and everyone to ensure proper understanding and growth in this area. I appreciate how you addressed the fact that when children post online, they won’t be able to prevent the people who see or read what they have posted. They can’t control everything or everyone; they can only control how they act online, what they post, and what they choose to share. I feel as though this is an important lesson that students need to learn, particularly for conflict resolution. I also feel as though it would help reduce stress and anxiety once we help students develop the skills required to simply control their own behaviours and outcomes, rather than everyone around them. Thanks for sharing, Roxanne!

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  3. Really enjoyed your post Roxanne! I am finding every week there are pros and cons to both arguments and as such, I’m finding it difficult to ‘pick’ a side. You’ve done a great job of laying it out! Your last thought is something I have been considering this last few weeks, and I completely agree that once teachers and parents are modelling their appropriate actions online I think children will follow – however, that also makes me wonder if adults of today should be considering following what our ‘youths’ of today are doing with shying away from things like FB for the ‘less permanent’ snapchat?

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