Parents want to know

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Just finished giving a Cyber Bullying presentation to some parents at our school. Coming away from the meeting I’m shocked, but probably shouldn’t be. Here are some quotes from parents that have stuck with me:

“My 4th grader knowns more then I do, how do I keep up?”
“Can you tell me what age I should allow my student on the Internet?”
“What do you think is the right age for students to have their own computer?”
“43% of 3-5 graders (at my school) have their own web site? Are you sure about that?”
“What’s a blog?”
“Are online games safe?”
“What is the school doing about cyberbullying happening outside of school hours?”
“I wish I knew what he/she was doing, but I just can’t keep up.”

Those are just the ones I remembered. I had a presentation that should have lasted about 30 minutes. The first questions started flying after What is CyberBullying and from there it was conversation. A GREAT conversation with parents on what is happening. At one point a parent of a Middle School student said “My kid keeps telling me ‘you just don’t understand us!'” How powerful is that, and how true. A hour and a half later the parents decided that they wanted to continue the conversation next month at the next parent coffee and they want to organize parenting classes so they can learn about blogs, and the other stuff their kids are doing online. They also want to arrange a K-12 parent night on technology and their students.

Now, how much of all of this will happen, I’m not sure. What was shocking to me and probably shouldn’t have been was:

1. How pumped parents were to receive any and all information about technology and what their kids are actually doing with it. Not so much in school, but out of school.
2. How little they knew about the cyber world their students were involved in. Some where down right shocked to find out that 3rd graders have their own web site at xanga.com.

3. The thrusting for knowledge that was felt. I couldn’t get through one slide of the presentation without questions about this or that.

It was a great hour and a half. We started a conversation and one that I hope continues in the coming weeks/months. I share with you the two parts of the presentation under the Creative Commons License of this blog.

The Cyberbullying PowerPoint and the Video of 7th graders teaching 5th graders about cyberbullying.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.

1 Comment

  1. Wow. Great presentation on a very important topic. I have been doing classroom blogging presentations recently, and one of the things I do is spend time on an uncensored look at the schools’ students’ myspace and livejournal pages. I tell the teachers up front that they will see things that will disgust, anger, concern, and downright shock them. Then I make them pledge not to “freak out” and to engage in a conversation with students instead of accusations. One of them came up to me afterwards and said that while he was worried as a teacher, he was totally freaking out as a parent. He wanted to know how to search to see if his children had pages. When I offered to help, he said that he just wanted to know how so he could do the search in private – he was concerned about what he might find out was going on that he knew nothing about. He also suggested that I should offer classes for parents through the local adult education program in my organization or as a travelling show in local libraries. I knew I needed to do this, but other things have been keeping me busy over the last two weeks since the workshop.

    Thank you for reminding me that this is a NOW issue. If we don’t have a realistic conversation about things like cyber-bullying and what is appropriate for kids on the web, then we will just get more of this: http://digg.com/links/ANOTHER_Girl_Killed_by_MySpace_Date_

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