Does anyone teach MySpace, Facebook, or Social Networking to students?

In a recent post I write Social Networking for Innovative Educators where I discuss why educators should participate in social networks. I have a class coming up on Cyber Safety and I'd like to share experiences educators have had teaching social networking with students. Does anyone do this? If so, can you share your experiences doing so, including any pushback?

Tags: networking, social

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Our school district has Myspace and other social networks blocked so the kids can't get on it (the teachers too) but I do think it is important to teach them about the safe and smart use of them.
Right. I think most, probably all districts, block them, but I'm wondering if people are still teaching how to use them safely and appropriately. Actually, I realize this is a great question for the Ning in Education network. I'll see what people there think as well.
Netsmartz has some lesson plans on this that I've used with my middle schoolers - check out the lesson plans at:

I've also used Cybersmart's lesson plans -

I also think teaching how to use them safely and appropriately is a good idea. I also always stress that they should check with their parents before they join a social networking site.
But have their parents been taught social networking? Coming soon to my blog is a post on the importance of that.
No, but it is something I have been thinking about offering at my school. Kind of a "how to" primer about social networking. I haven't done it yet but there is an interest at my school so I may next year.

I'll definitely read your blog on this.
New post on this topic called The 30 Day Guide To Losing Your Digital as a Second Language (DSL) ...

I have a link there to this discussion, so I hope people will share their good ideas as always.
My little kids use My CBBC.
I spend way too many hours having to blocking Myspace according to the Schools Acceptable Use Policy, and all the work-arounds the kids try. (Including the proxy's) I am not in school on Fridays...and when the cats away......
One time when I came back on a MONDAY The entire lab had the filters disabled and they had a My Space Festival. I read things there I NEVER want to read again. In addition, one of the kids had posted a picture of the entire Volleyball team-along with the school's name, city, state and even the sports schedule. Once I discovered it ,we had to notify every parent on the team that their child's identity had been compromised by another student. ( Whose identy we had to protect). Even though it was posted by the student at home , because it was accessed at school and used the schools name we had to take necessary precautions to protect their privacy. It was in short, a nightmare for me--Nothing happend to the child who posted it of course.

And yes I have taught them, lectured..they just aren't at the age when they are able to make the best choices. Nothing seems like a very big deal to them...they think we make a big deal out of everything. However the law here requires us to inform and follow COPPA.

My plan is to educate them when they are young -I don't have these issues at my other school because I have been there 5 years and they have grown up with safe searching. They actually check each other and most of them have added me to thier mySpace account.

So no great wisdom here just my experience- the kids that have had safe searching taught from a young age on seem to get it-the others it is a real challenge to get through to them.
Hi Lisa,
In the last issue of T.H.E journal they discussed: What Are We Protecting Them From?
...Willard, director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use in Eugene, OR, argues that web filters actually can threaten, not protect, students' security.

"Say there's a report of material that is posted on MySpace that relates to student safety or well-being, and that information is reported to a counselor," she explains, "the counselor needs to immediately get past the filter to review the material. Otherwise you have the potential for violence or suicide. In many schools, the ability to rapidly override the filter has not been established, which is impairing instructional activities as well as jeopardizing student safety."
Hi! Lisa
The Year 2008 began with a resolution to start using social networking sites as a learning-sharing tool. So, I experimented first with a ning network Passionate teachers There after realising the potential of learning in a network, I created a Ning Network for my students of grade 10. It is KHMS e Mathematics
I have shared about it on my blog Mathematics Learning.
These sites are blocked at my school/district. I provide this info. because it represents the tension and inequity in schools today. Even being a member of Classroom 2.0 feels "risky" even though it's one of the most valuable ongoing professional development experiences ever..Anyone else know what I mean?

I am torn on this topic. I have seen the kind of smut and cyberbullying that occurs regularly on MySpace and Facebook by students who are too young to appreciate the real-world repercussions of their online activities. Students hide behind anonymity, and they also have trouble realizing that the things they type online are real words that have real affects on real people.

I do feel that it is our job as educators to step in and teach some etiquette on social networks, especially before the children get too involved in MySpace or Facebook. I would not use either of these commercial social networks in my classroom. They are too open to outside dangers and too unregulated. I am exploring the idea of employing a social network that I have control over so that students can learn how to use them in a safe, closed environment. I am curious if anyone here is doing just that. If so, what social network are you using? Ning? Are there others? A very interesting topic, Lisa.
Hi Lisa,

I'm fortunate to be able to work for a school district that believes that children need to learn to filter out poor/negative information and consciously practice good choices. We did a social networking unit using Bebo with middle schoolers this past winter.

The lesson plans, and links are available at if these can be of any use to you.



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