Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Text, Tweet, and Post - Smartly - a note to my 8th Graders

Hello my capable 8th Graders,

        During homeroom today, we focused on internet safety specifically around sending messages (be it texts, images, or videos). The choose your own video  seemed a bit silly, yet at the end, a bit creepy. In addition, my sharing with you of the different "sharing" sites (Pheed, OoVoo, etc.)  {and that despite what the sites say, whatever you post (a) never goes away (b) can be copied and (c) is considered admissible evidence in court} was not to scare you or result in you not texting or posting or snapchatting. Rather, it was to help you use them responsibly. 

      Being responsible means knowing what is posted out there about you.  I told you that I periodically "Google" you guys to see what is out there about you, which surprised some of you as I appear to be "snooping" or "spying" on you. Yet, as I made it clear to you, I am doing these searches NOT to get you in trouble. Yes, I told you that your parents or teachers might be upset or disappointed by what you post. Yes, I told you that high-schools, colleges, and your future bosses do an electronic search and if there is questionable material out there, it can hurt your chances of being accepted or hired.  But the most important reason why I check is to protect you. There are people out there in the world who want to hurt children - boys and girls; younger and older. It's an unfortunate truth. And like your parents, I want to make sure you are safe. As I shared with you, next to my own two children, I see you as my own. I encourage you (and your parents) to Google yourselves and see what you find. If you see something that you don't like, go to the site and remove it. If you can't, ask your parents or me or another teacher for help. 

      Should you post or tweet or text or snap? Absolutely! It's how the world communicates (though it doesn't hurt to actually CALL someone and SPEAK to them directly). But, post, text, and tweet smartly.  The next time before you text or post a pic, ask yourself if you (and others, if you are posting their pictures or words) are comfortable with it being out there for the entire world to see. And if you see a friend posting something that they shouldn't or share with others, tell them to stop. You would want someone to do the same for you.

     See you tomorrow.

     - Mr. M.