Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Didn't Happen In The First Grade

Facebook - evil or excellent?
Love it or over it?

I have had a love affair with FB for years.
I'm pretty sure I'm on the 'hidden' feed of many of my friends because FB is my own personal Magoo montage. A photo collection of epic proportions with my family overseas in mind.
I used to be concious of it, but now feel that I'm not forcing anyone to look at anything they don't want to. (Hey, I didn't upload the actual birth photos.)

I just recently learned of a friend's engagement via a status update.
As did many other of our friends, I notice (so I don't feel so left out!)
Hmmm. Don't know how that sits with me.

The other day I accidentally, voyeouristically stumbled on/entered a page inviting people (friend of a friend) to a wedding here in Perth.
I'm sure it was intended for friends and family but it was classed as a public event and even gave me the option of rsvping.
Hmmmm. Don't know how that sits with me either.
I'm still not sure if I'm going, for the record.

I sit on the committee for a local community based child care centre and we have just launched a Facebook page with excellent response.

My beautiful friend Lou has finally succumbed to pressure from others and is promoting her awesome talent with a page dedicated to her photography business.

Without "de face ting" (as my Mother calls it) how would my Mum experience the parental pride that must come from learning that my sister decked a guy in Dublin's fair city the other night?

I have had another Facebook Friend Request from a student of mine recently.
Hey, I'm flattered to read her "Hi Mrs B. How's your hols? See you soon."
I'm obviously totally cool, right?!
But I'm not totally stupid.

This issue is an absolute minefield.
I have a rule of no teacher - student facebook friendships... for my protection and their own.
Since I've moved up the school (from Yr 1 to Yr 5) I have upped my FB privacy settings and had to think twice about certain statuses.
Tricky Facebook Friend Requests did actually happen when I was in the junior school - but it was the Mums, not the children, blurring the lines!

We have had Facebook issues within our school community and I've had to speak seriously to my own students about what some of them are projecting to the whole world wide web - and the ramifications of it.

I find it a struggle, the whole cyber - privacy - business. 
Mainly because I am, by no means, naturally a private person.
I'm a blabbermouth and mostly an open book.
I don't have anything (I can think of) to hide and what you see is what you get.

But I don't know that my reputable private school students (or their parents) need to see that Mrs B's neighbour's kids swear on her wall, that Mrs B's sister swears on her wall, that nasty people post drunken pics of Mrs B, that Mrs B posts drunken pics of Mrs B...
Need to know basis, really.

On the one hand the net is so socially enabling and just plain wonderful.
I love being able to connect with my family overseas, my friends around the corner and everyone in between at the click of a mouse.
(As I type Hubby has googled a picture of an awesome Hot Wheels (psych test) car track that we have been kindly handed down - minus the assembly instructions - and is making me flick between that and this page every few seconds. Where is his memory these days?)

Who needs instructions when you can access
someone's random blog post from years ago?

On the other hand, the net is so exposing and damaging.
It's a virtual candy store for the deranged, opportunist or downright criminal.

It's such a fine line - between teaching children/young adults (and their folks) to protect themselves and over exposing young people to the minority of predators that exist 'out there'.

How do you explain to a young girl that 'grown up, magazine style' bikini shots as a profile pic invite the wrong type of attention?
Why do we even use the word 'invite' in this context?
How do you describe the possible consequences of befriending strangers of the opposite sex or divulging personal details online?

How can we maintain a healthy balance between
informed & over exposed
educated & scaremongered
wary & suspicious
independent & unsupervised
alert & alarmed
trust & ignorance

Boy, I'm glad my own little  Magoo's cyber experimentation is currently limited to his Thomas The Tank Engine laptop and Skyping Daddy with Mummy alongside. I dread navigating the I.T. path ahead of us.

How do you negotiate the net?
Shar :-)


Naomi said...

I would freak out if a student requested my friendship via facebook - past students obviously, as mine are only 5!
My son has a no online policy for himself - he even asked me to take all photos of him from facebook as it was (and I quote) a violation of his privacy. I am so proud of him for that!
The lines can be blurred, and I have had a few requests from Mums from work, and a few know I have and read the blog.
My daughter has wifi on her iPod, in our house only, and her own email account. But, for now I get a copy of every email she is sent or sends. She's 10, and for now that's how I like it. I don't read all her emails, but I know who they are from, and know her friends user names.
It is tricky though, and the goal posts move all the time. I guess I try to stay on top of trends so I am not ignorant of what my kids can/will/are doing on line.

Martyr-hood said...

This is one of my daily struggles.
How do I negotiate the net?
How much information is too much information and where does the freedom of speech enter into it all?
I am a big fan of FB. Huge.
I discovered it when I was at home with my collicky newborn second daughter. I was on the verge of tossing myself out the window (not too dramatic, we lived on the first floor) because I felt so secluded and alone.
Enter FB and I felt like I was part of a community again.
Like you, I'm certain I've been hidden by many of my friends - just as I've hidden some of mine.
Although I think it's a learning curb/curve (never know which one it is).
Sometimes we add people we shouldn't and suffer the consequences - whatever they may be.
I think we need to exercise caution when it comes to adding people that we would not be our real selves around in normal life.
Great post.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Great post. I have my privacy settings up very high on my FB page - to the point where friends complain they can't find me. I'm okay with that. If I want you to find me, you'll find me. ;-)

Visiting via the Rewind.