This tech debate was all about whether we should be sharing on the internet on behalf of children and students. Before the debate I was on the side for posting, but posting with reflection beforehand.
Both debate sides made some excellent points.
-can create a positive digital footprint for children and students
-promotes connectivity, especially between the classroom, families and communities
-unfair when children and students don’t have a say in what is shared or may they be fine with it now, but embarrassed by it later
-it can be unsafe as anyone who finds what has been shared can further share it or use it for disturbing purposes
For example, in an article from The Telegraph shared by the against side I learned that “a woman in Austria is suing her parents to force them to remove childhood pictures of her from Facebook”. In cases like this sometimes parents share things that a child may later regret. With this in mind it is important that when posting for someone else that we reflect before posting.
Some families may wish to opt-out of allowing their child or children from sharing content online. In this case is blurring or covering this student’s face in a class photo make it acceptable to post? Some may say yes and some may still say no. At a previous school that I worked at a family choose to opt-out of any online sharing for their children. I found it very interesting that at special events even inter-school events these parents would still take pictures of their child with others children in the background. It made me wonder if they ever thought about how the other parents might feel about the picture. If they were not okay with pictures being taken of their child, was it okay for them to take ones with other children in them when they did not know if that child’s family gave permission for their photo.
As this is such a complicated issue I think that it’s important to really reflect on both sides of the argument and see if maybe we can meet in the middle.
Finding some middle ground…
Thoughtful sharing is key. Mike Ribble shares this model: STOP, THINK, EMPATHIZE, and then POST. We must stop and think before we post, empathizing with the person and how this could make them feel and the impact it could have on them. Here are some reflection questions to consider:
“Will this create a positive digital footprint?”
“Would this be something they may be embarrassed by?”
“Are the safety policies in place up to the standards for keeping this post safe and secure?”
If after reflecting you still feel it is okay to post, well then post it.
It’s also important that as adults we are good role models in what we post online. If we are not stopping to reflect before we post about ourselves to make sure that it is a good idea to post, then we can’t expect that children and students will know how to or will actually do so. It is vital to check policies of online sites to keep posts as safe and secure as possible. Keeping in mind good posting practices, I believe that overall sharing done with teacher guidance is worth it. Allowing student the opportunity to start creating a positive digital footprint and creating a connection between the home and school are powerful ways that sharing can impact students.