Category Archives: MySpace

Regulating Content on/in Student Owned Tools: Where Do We Draw the Line?

 

Librarian completely disregarding his own "no mobiles" sign by hugovk.

Regulation of content on student-owned digital tools (whether hardware or online) by school authorities has been an ongoing debate for a while now (see for example this post  or this article I wrote about a year and a half ago). Where do we draw the line? The issue has become even stickier when it comes to student-created content outside of school that has nothing to do with learning, but could be considered immoral, illegal, or unethical. Often, this content will make its way to students, teachers, and/or administrators and have substantial consequences, such as in the case of a student in North Carolina who was suspended for 10 days for posting an altered picture of his school’s assistant principal on MySpace (Student Press Law Center); or a 2005 incident in which school officials of the Northside School District in San Antonio, TX considered holding MySpace responsible for unrest caused at a high school after several students posted threatening messages on the Web site.

Now this discussion has become even more heated with regards to the use of student-owned mobile phones for learning. According to a post by Tony Twiss on the Upwardly Mobile Blog:

Something that a number of students involved in focus groups I have conducted has been students questioning whether or not their phones would become regulated if they were to be used for school.  They are talking about the personal content on their phones – and while none have specifically mentioned pornography, an example of offensive content such as racist images was given.

So – debates about what is and isn’t acceptable on a person’s private property that is being used for school will really start to heat up as the walls come down and cellphones creep in to schools. However, I think this is healthy.

Obviously this debate will not be limited to mobile phones as more digital tools make their way into schools, especially web-based ones.

Image Credit: “Librarian completely disregarding his own “no mobiles” sign”, from hugovk’s photostream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hugovk/10983383/

NECC, Day 5, ‘With Power Comes Responsibility: Online Awareness, Ethics, and Safety’

iste2007.jpg

 Got to this session late, very well attended, so this is an important issue for many (a detailed outline of the presentation and links can be found here. Mark Wagner is talking about inappropriate content, inappropriate sharing, and threats and cyberbullying (MY COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS).   

Another perspective (NICE, I’M GLAD HE MENTIONED THESE, ALTHOUGH HE DIDN’T GO INTO MUCH DETAIL):

  • Citizen journalism

  • Citizen police work

  • Threats, suicides, and risky behavior are often reported.

  • Sting operations online

  • “MySpace is safer for teens than predators”

Students do have 1st Amendment rights. Parody is protected. We cannot control students, we can educate them.

Lack of understanding:

  • Fear of the unknown

  • Vilification of technologies by adults who don’t know the technologies

  • DOPA did nothing for adults or kids, but put more work on schools and libraries (http://www.saveyourspace.com) (MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THIS E.G. HERE AND HERE)

  • Potential for rebellion and destruction of trust

  • Potential

 Legal protections:

Safety tips for students:

  • Don’t share identifying or personal information (privacy for kids is different than it was for us).

  • Do not share provocative images (according to Wagner this is getting better because kids knows parents and schools are looking)

  • Beware of grooming.

  • Consider the consequences and the future.

  • Talk with parents, teachers, or other trusted adults.

Tips for educators:

  • Move computer into shared spaces

  • Watch for alt+tab and alt+F4

  • Check history (is it suspiciously blank?)

  • Beware of reluctance to be candid

Educate yourself:

  • Your kids know more than the news

  • Ask your kids if they’ve been harrassed

  • Ask if they use more than one social network site
    (from Magid and Collier’s MySpace Unraveled)

  • Kids will react strongly to canceled accounts

  • Read the MySpace Terms of Use and Safety Tips

  • Report violations

  • Know the people in your child’s lists

  • View their friends’ profiles

  • Monitor and filter if necessary 

http://blogsafety.com

http://socialshield.com

http://theparentsedge.com

Bottom line:

  • communicate with students, parents, other educators, IT, the police

  • confront students who are behaving in irresponsible, inappropriate, or unsafe ways. Do not look the other way.

Take aways:

  • We cannot control students, we can educate them.

  • “Wouldn’t you rather know?”

  • This was a nicely balanced, straight-up presentation, intended to educate, not scare people. It was good to see so many people attended. Wagner also provided a link to a wiki with lots of resources

Tag=n07s707 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Why communication is important…

 purpura.jpg

Found this story via Darren Kuropatwa’s blog. It’s called “Safety v. Panic“, a powerful, personal experience about what can go wrong with the use of technology for teaching and learning when people don’t communicate. I fully agree with Darren’s comments that

Maybe if everybody tried talking to each other before they started pointing fingers they might learn from each other, understand each other better, figure out a way to meet everyone’s needs better and maybe, just maybe, the kids would have really learned something … and it would have stuck.

This is exactly the stuff I wrote about in my recent Innovate article (free registration required) on building relationships with technology and kids, but on a much broader scale. It’s easy to point fingers, ban, sue, and punish. This type of attitude also takes up a lot of valuable resources (time, money….) that would be better spent on, say … educating?

Read the original post and the comments, read Darren’s comments, and let me know what you think …

Image Credit: “Purpura”, Danella manera’s photostream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/143760074/

MySpace Is Mine

justice.jpg 

Following my last post, it came as no surprise to me that the legal system (in this case the Indiana Court of Appeals has at least began to address the issue of teenagers using MySpace to voice their opinions, even if they are not popular (see the CNN report here and the USA Today article here). According to the ruling (from the CNN report),

A judge violated a juvenile’s free-speech rights when he placed her on probation for posting an expletive-laden entry on MySpace criticizing a school principal, …

The three-judge panel on Monday ordered the Putnam Circuit Court to set aside its penalty against the girl, referred to only as A.B. in court records.

“While we have little regard for A.B.’s use of vulgar epithets, we conclude that her overall message constitutes political speech.”

Apparently, the language used by the student in question wasn’t exactly the greatest, but aside from the fact that this ruling shows that schools are going to have a very difficult time controlling what students post online outside of school, this also goes to show that schools have a responsibility to work with students on issues of ethics and responsibility when it comes to using the Internet. There is no doubt in my mind that First Amendment rights will be staunchly defended by the U.S. legal system, but all of us (including students) need to remember that rights come with responsibilities. Another strong argument for civics and citizenship education in K-12 education…

Image Credit: “Justice”, dweekly’s photostream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dweekly/62664542/

Is MySpace Really Mine?

nomyspace.gif

 

Here is a scary thought: Banning MySpace – at Home. According to this post on KairosNews, and the orignal article here, St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic School in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is banning students from using MySpace, on campus AND at home. “Those students who have existing MySpace.com accounts must delete them if they wish to continue going to school there. Students who do not delete their accounts cannot attend the school, Van Velzen [the school’s principal] said.”

Protecting students from the evils of the web is one thing, but I’m waiting to see when the first lawsuit is going to come about for violation of First Amendment rights. The scary thing is that according to the article, most parents seem to be in favor of the new school policy. Is this because it is easier to ban the use of MySpace than to learn about it and educate students on responsible, ethical, and safe use? Also, who is going to check to see whether students delete or keep their accounts, and how will the school be able to prove whether a student has an account or not? I’m sure students are already thinking of ways to circumvent this new policy.

 Instead of banning out of fear, schools and parents are better off learning about the web tools that kids are going to use, forging better relationships with kids AND technology, as I argue in the latest issue of Innovate that focuses on the Net Generation. I especially would like to point out the first comment on my article, made by Elizabeth Igarza from South Texas College within hours of the article being posted online. A couple of excerpts:

School districts across the globe are scrambling to keep up with blocking the newest social networking sites that pop up online seemingly overnight so as to safeguard our children while at school. Why then, like any other educator who cares about the well-being of our children, would I advocate unblocking these potentially dangerous sites? Simply put, because when we block our portals, we close our eyes and leave millions of our kids are out there alone, vulnerable, and unprotected. We have a duty to un-block access to social networking sites and get in there to help them understand this new connectedness, make informed choices, and lead the transformation toward a greater good. 

We could, however, just continue sitting behind blocked content warnings and let the next generation stumble in the middle of the information highway without so much as warning them to look both ways before crossing into a new digital neighborhood. Or we can get logged in, lead the dialogue and the content, and guide them in building social networks that will benefit their lives and our increasingly interconnected world. If we don’t, the headlines are full of terrifying stories of who might.

As a former social studies teacher, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Please read the entire comment at Innovate, and thanks for commenting on my article Elizabeth!!

Image Credit: MySpace.com for the MySpace logo. The rest is PhotoShopped.