How to soothe myspace fever!

Great Internet Safety Resources
Kudos to Craig Nansen of edTechInsider for writing a great article on Internet safety and providing some wonderful links listed below. You will need these as you address growing parent panic over Myspace!

What do we tell parents?

This is what I tell parents when I get the increasingly frequent phone calls or parking lot conversations.

Myspace and Xanga are not inherently evil just as books or computers or paper aren't. It is not the medium that is the problem but what is done with it.

When I was growing up the issue was “the mall.” Kids were getting ‘snatched' from “the mall.” What a bad thing “the mall” was.

It wasn't the mall that was bad, it was the fact that kids were hanging out at the Mall unsupervised. Neither is Myspace or Xanga inherently evil.

The fact that parents allow their kids to have accounts without providing any oversight — that is the problem. Go to myspace or Xanga and search for your child. Ask them to show you what they are doing. Ask them who the friends are linked to their accounts and find out about them.

Predators lurk wherever kids congregate. Parents who love their children supervise their children.
Excerpted from my coolcatkid blog

People who want to shut down myspace were the book burners of the Dark Ages. It is not the communication medium it is the CONTENT!

Those producing innappropriate content will always flock to places that are not policed and that parents don't supervise properly. Yet another reason for parents to accept change and live with it!

Discuss myspace and xanga openly. Block it at school so they don't waste valuable class time with a growing addicition for many teens. Educate teens and preteens about privacy. You can use some of these great resources below including a lesson plan for sixth graders.

And give them an outlet for their growing myspace fever by allowing them to wiki and blog. It helps alleviate their desire to use social software by giving them a social way to be educated!

Great Internet Safety Resources

Playing it Safe
A webquest about Internet Safety for 6th Grade Computer Literacy

Wired Safety

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

NetSmartz Workshop


FBI Publications – A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety

The Police Notebook – Kid Safety on the Internet

KidsCom – Tips for Internet Safety and good manners!

In Conclusion: Stay Level Headed
Don't be afraid of touchy issues. Show clear headed, solid analysis and you will continue to earn the respect of those who look to you to be the expert.

Knee jerk sensationalism gets old — we were all there for Y2K!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Karyn Romeis March 3, 2006 - 9:06 am

Oh, you’re playing my song! Just yesterday I was at a parents’ meeting with my son’s teacher. I expressed my growing frustration with the fact that the whole class has had their email accounts suspended because some of the kids were sending inappropriate messages. I pointed out that no-one ever confiscated pens and paper when kids sent rude notes/drawings around the class. We can’t keep witholding tools from these kids because they might find some naughty use for them.

The kids have also all created blogs. They can post to these, but they can’t view them because the site is blocked due to some people’s habit of posting rude pictures and profane posts on their blogs. So how much motivation is there to blog, then? I asked the teacher if the kids were banned from visiting the local library for the same reason.

She probably thought me an anarchist, but the truth is that I am likely to be the least anarchic of the parents she deals with. I just don’t believe that the right way to equip people for the real world is to shut them off from it.

The tools exist to teach kids to deal with what they encounter. The most important of which are arguably appropriate education before, supervision during and discussion after. Hard work… if you do it right!

Vicki A. Davis March 3, 2006 - 1:06 pm

I agree with you Karyn. I stress to my students that all classroom rules apply to their work online and we take disciplinary action for behavior on school accounts. That is why I favor the use of “school” e-mail and “school” blogs. We can monitor and hold them accountable. Yes, it is work, but until the technology of monitoring the behavior catches up with the tools, it is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I don’t care if they are at home or at school, inappropriate behavior at one of our online wikis and blogs is innappropriate and occurs in my classroom, no matter what time of day it is.

Thus far, I haven’t had too much problem. I have dealt with each issue severely the first time it happens and then no problem.

Thanks for the meaningful post. We need more commenters like you!

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere