Why We Need To Teach Social Networking

From Venturebeat.com

The girl, 17, had been helping her grandmother count the 72-year-old woman’s personal savings. Apparently wishing to impress her friends and the world at large, the teen snapped a picture of the cash and uploaded it to Facebook.

Within hours, masked robbers showed up at the girl’s own house with a knife and a club, breaking in and stealing cash and personal possessions from the teen’s 47-year-old mother.

I read this the other day and was wondering if this girl ever was taught about social networking and where her information goes. 

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I then starting thinking about the autonomy I had as say a 13 year old. My parents knew where I was 99% of the time, knew who I was hanging out with, who I was talking with and where I was physically…seeing there was no digital place for me to be yet. 

I think about the autonomy a 13 year old has today. The autonomy to post, talk, respond, take a photo with anyone they want without parents knowing about it…and being able to share with people that their parents might not know. 

These are new behaviors we need to be teaching in schools. We teach how to share, in the physical world. We teach how to cooperate, in the physical world. We teach how to stay away from danger in the physical world. But do we teach these same skills in the new digital sense? Why not?

If we know we are all spending more time online, in online relationships and communicating more online than in person these days, why are we not teaching these social-networking skills?

We talk about making friends, in the physical world. We talk about what it means to be a good friends, how good friends trust each other and how good friends watch out for each other….in the physical world. 

Are we teaching social-networking in the digital world as well? If not are we doing our students, our community, our society a disservice?