Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Working Mommy Wednesday...

I am excited about the prompt for this week...Social Media, the good, the bad and the opinions!

The Good:  I like's been a great way to stay in touch with family who live out of town and I have reconnected with friends from high school and other times from my past.  It's fun to see what people are doing and hear what their kids are up short, it's like a game...good fun.  There are a variety of fan pages that I have "liked" and provide information that interests me.   I don't Twitter and there are many more other ways to socially network that don't appeal to me.  

The Bad: For me, there really isn't a bad in terms of social networking.  I'm an intelligent, reasonable adult and I engage in social media in a responsible manner.  The bad really occurs when those things aren't taken into consideration.  It's so easy to be reckless and irresponsible...and so difficult to take back things that are said or pictures that are posted.  I'm a teacher and I have long believed that I am responsible to a slightly higher social moral.  It wouldn't be appropriate for me to be publicly drunk, especially in the neighborhood in which I work...likewise it isn't appropriate for me to be "Friends" with students.  I even carefully consider "Friending" parents of students.  While there isn't anything within my social network that I think people would consider irresponsible, it is also important to remember all the roles we play...and who should have what kinds of access!

The Ugly:  Far too often social media is abused...people act irresponsibly and are later surprised that there are consequences for the irresponsibility.  Angry words can't be erased easily...ridiculous pictures and videos are long-lasting...children (and those that should know better) use social networking to bully and intimidate, to lie.  I was recently a part of an eye-opening simulation using Facebook.  The class of middle school students I was working with was given a student's name and access to her Facebook page.  Through her page, links to friends and families pages and links to Twitter and other networks, we amassed a large amount of information in a very short time.  Information like: her school schedule, her car and license plate, her address, the dates of cheer camp, the location of Friday's party...  Even when we are careful about the information we post, there is more information about us through the postings of our "Friends".  Are we as information savvy as we think we are?  Are our kids?

The Rest of the Story: I have said this before...I believe we need to teach our children to manage the world that is, not the world we wish it was!  That includes teaching them how to use social networking responsibly.  My kids don't currently have Facebook accounts (or MySpace or Twitter...) but they do access online games and other sites like Club Penguin.  We have rules about how they engage in chats (they don't!) and what types of information they share.  We are also pretty open with our kids that their text history and online history are an open book...I look through backpacks and cell phones.  I want to know what information my kids are putting online and into the world, who they're talking to and what's being said.  I am not naive enough to think that my kids will always tell the truth and will always be open to me looking through their cell phones.  However, I am hopeful that starting that habit young means it will be easier when they are teens.  Social media, like anything else, needs to be taught to our kids.  We need to be their first teachers, we need to teach them how to apply the family's morals and values to this resource and we need to monitor their attempts to do so.


  1. Great quote "I believe we need to teach our children to manage the world that is, not the world we wish it was!" So true... and think you have some great points in this post, especially how you add "friends" thoughtfully.

  2. So true about raising your kids to be smart about social media! Great post!

  3. great post!! thanks for sharing some very honest thoughts.


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