Facebook, Privacy, and Cyber bullying

Just returning from a full day of thinking and teaching starting with Saturday school and talking to some students who got in trouble for cyber bullying on Facebook. I love getting the opportunity to talk to students about their social world and continue to find it fascinating on their views of what they consider “their world”. My wife, being the school counselor, had the job of teaching Saturday school today and together we came up with a plan that we hoped was A) Educational B) Not so fun….after all this is Saturday school. I only had the opportunity to spend an hour with the students before I had to run off to teach the COETAIL grad course for teachers here at ISB. I started the morning off by talking about privacy, having the students try and define it (harder than you might think) and then talk about what’s private on Facebook. Then helping them to understand that nothing is private on the Internet….nothing. I had them do some researching on the Internet and two students found sites that even talked about “How to hack a Facebook account and see peoples wall without being their friend.” (I refuse to link to the site). The students found that shocking, and the more we talked the more shocked they seemed to be. At the end of our little chat their assignment was to write either a blog post or a paper with at least three recent resources on either privacy on facebook or cyber bullying. Most students chose to write a paper as I think the idea of putting this on their blogs was a little…embarrassing….fair enough! After I left, my wife took over and doing the counselor thing had them reflect even deeper about cyber bullying by putting them in small groups and reading some of the letters from this great book: Letters to a Bullied Girl . According to my wife their discussions about bullying were pretty deep and meaningful and many of them talked about how they had never thought about it before, but how easy it was to slip into being a bully on the Internet. They also took a look at the middle school Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and had a conversation around what it meant and why some of the ideas in the AUP were there to begin with. The saddest part of the day for...

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