In a better digital world …

There is so much more to teaching responsible social media behavior than just being a good role model – though that’s my go-to.

And yet –

I even invented a class for the purpose of teaching students to communicate effectively online – in blogs, with Google Drive, on Twitter and other social media platforms.

We talk about privacy.

We talk about bullying.

We talk about copyright.

We talk about who sees your posts and how quickly they can go viral.

And yet –

I have a “Mom” talk with my publications staffs and explain how what they do in their relations with others in real life or on social media reflects on the publication they are a part of. It’s in the contract they sign, that they will be appropriate in their dealings with others online and off.

And yet –

And yet I see students use bad language, talk badly about peers – sometimes naming them and sometimes not – sharing things that shouldn’t be shared publicly, arguing with and threatening others.

The least of the problems is that people who may not even know the offenders form an opinion based on this behavior. This includes teachers the students don’t have – yet. My friends can see anything I comment on, and this is something many youngsters don’t seem to understand. When these young people start looking into going to college and getting scholarships, these behaviors are going to bite them, as more and more college admissions advisers and scholarship grantors are checking online profiles before making acceptance decisions. Even those students who think this doesn’t matter because they aren’t going to college should know that potential employers look too. Folks are passed over on jobs and the job seeker may never know why they didn’t get that job.

I believe that the power of the Internet and the relationships and networking made possible by social media are extremely valuable.

And yet –

And yet I truly wish younger people would seek more powerful and appropriate uses for these amazing tools instead of wasting such usefulness on pettiness, bullying and hurting one another and themselves.

It would be a better digital world if people –

Wouldn’t post hurtful messages.

Wouldn’t share private information.

Wouldn’t air personal disagreements.

Wouldn’t share other people’s hurtful messages, private information and personal disagreements.

It would be a better digital world if people –

Would share useful, informative information.

Would give shout-outs for good works.

Would seek out others with similar interests in order to share information and experiences.

Would share their creative works for others to enjoy.

How can you help make the digital world a safer, friendlier, more educational, more inspiration place today?

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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