I’m told that I teach a math and science . I’m told that I teach 8th grade. More importantly, I teach children. For that reason, I want the best for them. I want them to be safe. I want to see them in their seats each day and not pictured on the evening news. Each year I give them an anonymous survey about their social networking habits. They are as alarmed as I am at the results.
- Over half have 24/7 access to the internet through their phones.
- Seven out of eight have a social networking account, and over half of those have three or more.
- Most parents do not have full access to their child’s accounts, and most of those that do don’t check it regularly. They also don’t check their child’s cell phones.
- Nearly four in ten have met someone in person who they originally met electronically.
- And eight out of nine have given information on their account that would make it easier for a predator to find them.
It did the trick; many students went home and altered their profiles to make it more difficult for a predator to locate them. The “Free Activities” tab lists two new downloads. One is a MS Word file of the survey and answer sheet so that you can administer it in your own classroom. The second is a PDF of the presentation I will be giving at the California League of Schools Technology conference in Monterey on January 12th.
The presentation includes social networking statistics, the survey questions, safety tips for teens and parents, and a resources list. I hope this helps keep your students safe. Though social networking is not part of our prescribed curriculum, I have learned that what we teach rests on the foundation of who we teach. This was tragically personified by the teachers at Sandy Hook who gave their lives to protect their children. Those heroes are not the exception–sacrifice is a part of our job description. The compassion and care you give to your students is not often recognized, but it is truly heroic.