Yesterday afternoon all our grade 4 to 7 students met with Jesse Miller from MediatedReality to learn more about social media and responsible, safe behaviours while online.
Earlier in the school year, we consulted with our PAC and together, we came up with a plan to bring Mr. Miller in to talk to our students on the 24th, and then join us at our November 29th PAC. Parents – Please come to the PAC night for this important talk.
Some interesting learning happened for the children and adults alike. We started the afternoon off with all our grade 4′s and 5′s coming down to the small gym, and students were engaged in conversations about Ipod Touches, cell phones, text messaging after midnight, Facebook and other online options.
Our grade 6′s and 7′s came down for the last hour of the day, and the discussions focused on many of the same topics that were reviewed with the younger students. The focus was a bit different, as more children in these grades reported being involved in Facebook, Twitter, online games (including xbox and playstation), taking and posting pictures and text messaging.
Here are some of the snippets that I learned yesterday:
- We have many students who have Facebook accounts (despite the age restriction of 13 years old or older – Read more in the NY Times).
- Many students (grades 4 – 7) receive text messages from their friends after midnight.
- Roughly 75% of the grades 6′s and 7′s reported having Ipod Touches with text messaging capability. A large percentage of students in grades 4 and 5 also reported having these same Ipod Touches.
- Many students became very uncomfortable when asked about sharing their text messages with their parents or teachers (or principal).
Some key points that Mr. Miller left with the students were:
- When visiting web sites, pretend that Mom or Dad are looking over your shoulder. Would you still visit that site?
- Never accept an email (or other communications) from strangers.
- If you find yourself uncomfortable online, tell a parent.
For students in grade 6 and 7, a challenge was given – “Go home and write out, by memory, all your Facebook Friends.” Can they do it? How many “friends” can they list? Try this at home with your child. If they don’t know the person, why are they friends?
Mr. Miller will be presenting a lot of very important issues to the PAC on the 29th. I think it is important for parents to attend.
Some questions that I think should be asked:
- Do you know your child’s online habits?
- Does your child have a computer in his/her bedroom?
- Does your child keep his/her phone (or Ipod Touch) in the bedroom over night?
- Do you talk to your children about online or texting behaviours?
- Have you ever read their text messages?
The Internet and the rest of the wired world is a great place. Let’s help children learn how to safely navigate their way through.