Sunday, November 10, 2013

Netiquette in the Library

Social media can be a great resource for information, support and long-distance connection.  It can also be a medium for bullying, gossip and cowardice.  Some basic things I encourage students to keep in mind when utilizing social media (such as creating web posts, tweets or messaging online):
Never post ANYTHING online that you would not want on the front page of a newspaper, or that you would not want your family, community or future employer to see.
Never say ANYTHING online about someone that you would not say to his or her face.
Never post ANYTHING online anonymously.  Stone Eagles are accountable.
Never re-post ANYTHING that was sent to you privately in a public forum without asking permission first.
Also, nowadays people can spend a lot of time preening and cultivating an online "persona," but I try to remind kids to be real people first.  If you read on-line that someone is having a hard time, for instance, don't just write "(((hugs)))," give them a real hug when they need it, call them on the phone to express condolences with your real voice, bring them something to cheer them up!

As adults, the buzzword is that we are "digital immigrants," having grown up with little or no computers, as opposed to our kids, who are "digital natives."  But we as adults are not new to the shores of good manners, and we still have a lot to share with our kids by way of setting an example for awareness of cause-and effect, boundaries, discretion and compassion.  Thank you for all you do to model kind online choices; children see our Facebook accounts and other social networking activity, and are influenced by our examples.

I am not generally a big fan of acronyms, but I do like the THINK model (above), and use it myself sometimes as a little checklist before I post!

I also wanted to share with families this really interesting and somewhat scary article about digital privacy and children that I think definitely offers some food for thought.  Please click here.  I don't know if there's a lot we can do at this point to completely erase the slate and start from scratch, almost all of our children are digitally "on the grid" at this point.  But I do think in general we can afford to start being more conscious about it, being careful not to tag children by name unnecessarily (though face recognition technology will ultimately render that a bit moot as well), and we can certainly avoid posting anything that a child might find truly embarrassing later on.  Those bear-skin rug and kitchen-sink bathtub shots will have to stay in the old-fashioned photo albums, just like our grandmas kept, I suppose.  Or else, people will become so desensitized to a lack of privacy, and as the author suggests, that digital and real worlds will be merged, maybe to the extent that people will stop caring at all, or else, become homogenized in their behavior in a striving for safety...  recommended reading here:  Brave New World!

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