Over the past couple of weeks, I have had some interesting conversations with students about social media. These talks have ranged from 2nd grade to 5th grade, and have been very eye-opening. When surveying a second-grade class and a fourth-grade class, I saw more students admit to having a social media account in SECOND grade than in fourth. What?! That's when I knew it was time to have real conversations with kids, informing them of being good digital citizens.
Don't Place Blame
First things first, I never place blame on anyone - parent or child. I tell them that most social media accounts require users to be 13 years of age or older. We talk about how parents may sign them up for accounts to play games or keep in touch with family. Also, I tell them the more honest they are about things that happen online, the less likely they are to be in trouble with an adult. Then we talk about making good choices.
To me, it is important not to place blame on anyone or to tell them they shouldn't have the account. The most important thing, in my mind, is to inform students of being safe online and how to make good choices because they are going to use these accounts regardless of what they should be doing. We have to make sure they are smart.
I found this image online last night and decided it was perfect for my lesson with 4th grade today.
Students and I talked about what each of these meant. They were very honest and open with me about their thoughts and feelings. Students told me what I wanted to hear, that they should go to an adult if anything happens online they aren't comfortable with. But let's be honest, will that do that when the time comes? That is where parents come in and keep track of the devices, what is being posted, and talking to their children.
Not sharing personal information, coaches and employers looking at social media, making good choices concerning posting about other people - all things we discussed. Keep the discussion going at home! Use this poster as a reference. Another good one (and you may think about putting up in a common area) is shared below.
A teacher turned techie with an obsession with Google, teachers that love learning, and students that love life!