Year one was last year, the 2008-2009 school year. And yes, this picture adequately describes how I felt. I knew it was a good idea but there was no way to judge who knew what or how it would be received. I just had to jump in. This is not a skill based instruction that we’re all used to doing. There was no way to know how or where to start the discussion. There was nothing to compare it to in the library literature. I also had to be ready to respond to the comments the boys made very spontaneously.
Year 2 is this school year. In October, I ran the program with the seniors.
In late August, I took a very brief survey of our school’s student honor board members on this concept. These boys are seen to have relatively high morals and live balanced lives at school and home. Here are the results. They are now texting as their number one tool for communication. These students, who are in 10th, 11th and 12th grade believe that this conversation should be starting younger than senior year. When asked how they’d describe their online identity, everyone said that they really believe there is no difference. This may be because they are in high school and in a relatively sheltered environment.
This is where I try to discuss online judgments. I used this last year too. When content or photographs is posted, it is almost impossible to have any control over it later. People do make judgments based on what they see and you’re not there to defend or explain yourself. As we all know, photographs can be reused in any number of ways. Photographs can be stored on computers indefinitely. I had to let them know that how they are photographed matters and how they post pictures of others is important too. It is important not to compromise others or themselves in online environments.This was a very tough concept for my students to understand: they can’t understand that not everyone would think this guy is just a college student having a good time. I pointed out that since this lad had 40 pictures of himself posted in various intoxicated poses that someone else might make the conclusion that he was an incorrigible drunk.There was very little understanding on the part of my students of the importance of photographs and making decisions about what would respect their privacyThis also brought up important discussions about under-aged drinking. Making an online “portrait” of themselves involved in underage drinking is something they are very comfortable with.
Here’s the last question I asked them and I got a wide range of opinions. I asked this because I wanted them to see that whatever is on the Internet is fair game. They just don’t know who is going to see what they post of the web.
I’d like to open the program up for discussion now. I know the boys I know really need to hear how girls understand these concepts. In a school like ours, girls are just not around during the school day because of our location and I am not sure they understand that girls communicate and perceive things differently. Will they understand the online boundaries with girls once they get to college?I’d really appreciate hearing how you could envision implementing a program like this in your school. I am really new at this and would like your suggestions and ideas.
1. Living an Online Life: Moral Conversations about Social Networking and Online Communication<br />Terry Darr, MLS<br />Loyola Blakefield<br />Towson, MD <br />1<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
2. Today’s discussion:<br />Introduction/Overview of “Living an Online Life”<br />Social interactions and morals<br />Year One: how it started<br />Year Two: the discussion questions and answers<br />How you can get started<br />The future from here<br />2<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
3. About Loyola Blakefield<br />Grades 6-12 enrollment: 1,003 boys – 750 are enrolled from grades 9-12.<br />All male, independent, Catholic (Jesuit) education<br />School established: 1852<br />Library collection: 16,540+<br />3<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
4. What is “Living an Online Life”?<br />Social networking: posting photographs, commentary and other content online for viewing.<br />Any type of online communication. (texting, IM, twitter)<br />Using the Internet to form moral judgments and impressions. <br />4<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
5. What is social networking exactly?<br />An online gathering point for people. This can be to exchange information of all types, connect socially or share a common interest.<br />5<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
6. Why do this discussion at school? <br />The school’s mission: “Men for Others.”<br />Information literacy program initiative: start from the ground level.<br />AASL standards: <br />4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.<br />4.3.4 Practice safe and ethical behaviors in personal communications and interactions.<br />6<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
7. Where is the best place to discuss morality and social networking in school?<br />Religion class: that’s where I do it.<br />Philosophy class<br />Psychology or Sociology class<br />Back to school night<br />Parent group meetings<br />Peer education sessions<br />Anytime there is a chance to discuss moral decision making AND/OR technology.<br />7<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
9. Break the ice!<br />Facebook Manners and You (YouTube)<br />He should have called instead of texting!<br />9<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />She broke up with me on my wall!<br />Why did he post that picture on Facebook?<br />
10. Face-to-face Interactions<br />Comments “disappear” once they are said.<br />Reactions from others can be gauged and adjusted accordingly (social cues).<br />There is a limited number of people to deal with at one time.<br />10<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
11. Online interactions are different<br />Can’t see the reactions of others to what’s been stated.<br />Continuous, plentiful AND unsupervised.<br />Social boundaries aren’t clearly defined.<br />Visual connections with people are transparent in online environments. It’s easy to see “who you know…”.<br />It encompasses a much larger group of people than the average person meets with face to face in a given time frame.<br />11<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
12. Year One: The Big Leap of Faith<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />12<br />
13. Living an Online Life: Year One Discussions 2008-2009<br />The focus was Facebook.<br />What information should they put on their profile page? (too juvenile for seniors).<br />Photograph discussion: too “results orientated.”<br />Just touched on the stalking discussion. (OOPS!)<br />How will they judge or be judged by others based on their photographs or written content posted online? (OOPS! They don’t care.)<br />13<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
14. Year One – Obviously, I was just getting started…<br />Assume students have an above average knowledge about Facebook and other similar sites.<br />Students don’t view Facebook as a dynamic communication tool. It’s just one more thing they do on the computer. No big deal.<br />Transitions between discussion points. <br />I was SCARED. (And there was GOOD reason to be scared!!)<br />14<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
15. Year Two: There is a little growth…<br />15<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
16. Living an Online Life: Year Two Discussions 2009-2010<br />Focus: Facebook and Texting<br />More emphasis on the concrete: “What would you do if…”<br />Correct emphasis on the importance and dignity of each person AND themselves - even online.<br />16<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
17. Year 2: Small survey of honor board<br />Picture sharing and staying in touch with people from other schools.<br />They think 8th and 9th grade is the right age to start talking about this issue.<br />Texting is #1 communication tool.<br />Offline identity=online identity<br />17<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
18. Now for the Year 2 discussion questions…<br />18<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
19. 1. This is her Facebook profile picture. What would you do if she asked you to take this picture?<br />19<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
20. 2. Facebook Photograph: Do you want this guy as your roommate?<br />20<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
21. 3. Facebook and Texting: What would you do if someone won’t leave you alone online?<br />Solutions generated by students:<br />Ignore it<br />Ignore it until my gut tells me that something is “crazy” then confront them.<br />Confront the person immediately and tell them to stop.<br />Block or un-friend the person.<br />21<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
22. 4. Cyber-Stalking with Texting*<br />ME: What would you do if you got a picture text message from a girl and she was naked?<br />BOYS:<br />Delete it<br />Ignore it<br />Say to her, “I don’t care. Stop it.”<br />*Teenage boys honestly don’t know WHY a girl would do this…<br />22<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
23. Last Question: Did I invade the privacy of my daughter’s Facebook friends by showing you these pictures?<br />They were split on this:<br />Some felt like if the information was on the Internet, it is fair game.<br />Others said I didn’t get their permission.<br />Others said my daughter’s permission is enough to justify my use of her FB account.<br />23<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
25. What I did right…<br />I went back into the classrooms understanding that I wasn’t going to change the mind of every boy. <br />No one had EVER discussed this before: I was going to make most of them think.<br />Raise awareness of the necessity of active decision making in online environments.<br />25<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
26. What are the inherent challenges?<br />Negotiating for class time.<br />Understanding your student’s current perceptions and use of online communities.<br />They will never be completely honest.<br />26<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
27. So how do you get started?<br />Determine the best class in which to have this discussion.<br />Write the scope and sequence - present it to department head(s) and school administrators for review.<br />Get real life examples: photographs from the media or from student Facebook accounts and presenting case studies that they can relate to.<br />27<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
28. To be determined…<br />How do I measure and/or evaluate perceptions in teenage boys?<br />If the discussion moves to the 10th, 11th and 12th grades, how do I advance the discussion appropriately each year?<br />How do I evaluate what I am hearing from the boys today in order to plan for tomorrow?<br />28<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />
29. What do YOU think?<br />For college bound students, is it better to have a co-ed discussion on this topic?<br />How do you envision a program like this at your school?<br />How can parents help their children make better moral decisions in online environments?<br />29<br />Loyola Blakefield - Towson, MD<br />