You can’t learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Does the same relate to Social Networking? Is it true that a child cannot be a safe and efficient Social Networker without actually using one? And who is it up to to teach the children about safe Social Networking? The parents, or the school?
In a recent report by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, they found that, “Although they weren’t asked this question, we suspect that most of the 91% of administrators who told the NCSA researchers that they block social network sites, are doing so because they believe it is in the best interest of their students, but there is a growing consensus among Internet-safety experts that blocking social media might actually have a negative effect on student safety.”
Nancy Willard of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use was quoted saying, “There are some significant barriers in school to get to where we need to be because, in order to teach Internet safety in school, we have to teach it in context, and if we have these major barriers of getting Web 2.0 technologies into schools, then we’re not going to be able to teach these skills in the context of learning.”
What do you think? Should children be taught how to use websites like MySpace and Facebook safely in schools, or do Social Networking sites have no place in the school system?
I do believe that you cannot become a safe and responsible Social Networker without actually getting into Social Networking. You learn the ins and outs and what to share and what not to. Do you want to give the city you live in, or your full name? Even your full date of birth? Probably not, unless you’re doing business online, which a child shouldn’t be doing anyway.
I don’t, however, believe that it should be left up to the schools to teach our children how to Social Network. I think it’s completely the responsibility of the parents. Social Networking was blocked when I was in high school, and I’d certainly hope they would continue with that today.
I send my child to school to learn about History and Science and Math and English. You know, the ‘things we need to know that we’ll never use again’. If my child is taking some sort of computer class, I would hope that it would be about learning to use the computer properly, how to maintain it or build it. How to use certain programs, like Microsoft Office and Photoshop, etc.
The thought of a Facebook 101 class in school is absolutely ridiculous.