Hide and Seek of Social Media: The Brutal Truth

First of all I would like to show a huge appreciation for Carol Todd for sharing her daughter’s story with us. I can’t even imagine the courage that it would take to speak out about such a personal topic and I have gained a much larger perspective from this that I will be taking into the classroom with me. Education about social media is a HUGE factor for the ways in which children engage with it and this education needs to be taking place more frequently within classrooms. I am extremely proud that I have this ability to change students’ perspectives on what they post on social media and how it will effect them not only later in life but in their adolescents as well.

In preparation for Carol’s visit, I informed myself further on her daughters story. I watched The Sextortion of Amanda Todd and I gained a huge takeaway message that I will definitely be using in my teaching applications.

“It used to be that you made a mistake and it was forgotten in due time.. not anymore”

WOW! How true is this in our modern society? I am hugely grateful that I grew up in a time where social media was not a popular notion and that everything I said or did as a child was not documented into social media history forever, yes, FOREVER. The second that something is put online, it cannot be taken back easily and sometimes not at all. Even app’s like Snapchat save all of the pictures sent back and forth, so keep this is mind when you are sending your ‘ugly selfies’ to friends or ever prevailing ‘scandalous’ pictures that are becoming popular among adolescents now-a-days. All it takes is one picture, video, text etc. to devastate a life and this is something that the young people of our society do not understand.

Not only do I take pride in being one of the many young faces of education but I am making it my mission to take my classroom beyond the walls of curriculum to teach my students on what it means to be a safe and smart tech-user. Carol shared with us that there would have been a lot more conversations she would have had with her daughter had she have had the knowledge that she now holds. It is important to share the notion of digital citizenship with not only students but parents as well! I can only take control of what my students do in the classroom and school setting. Unfortunately I do not have a say in what happens in their home life, all I can do is spread awareness and educate students on why digital citizenship is so important. Something that goes hand-in-hand with digital citizenship and what children engage in on social media is respect and confidence. The chances increase immensely for individuals to engage with dangerous internet behaviour if they are getting positive feedback that they might not be finding elsewhere or if they are getting bullied into making choices that are not their own. I strongly hope that my teaching philosophy of creating a safe, nurturing, open and trusting space will help to strengthen students self-images, relationships with others and their create a more positive digital identity.

*My teaching philosophy can be found on my blog if you would like to check it out!

Carol’s visit was a very emotional one and I took away some very critical understandings that help to both strengthen my own personal views and those that I will be taking into the classroom with me. I am in constant search for new lessons, activities, resources etc. for teaching digital citizenship in the classroom so please share if you have any! It fills my heart a bit knowing that I can have a positive influence on young people’s lives and the ways that they engage with not only social media but others and themselves as well!

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