Please don’t be shocked when you find out during my Internet Safety class that all or most of your students have personal Facebook accounts.
Your class is not alone.
We want to foster conversation about how to stay safe online. Admonishing your students that they must be 14 to have a Facebook account simply stops the conversation. We need to have an open dialog about how to stay safe online.
Telling them not to use Facebook or Twitter simply doesn’t work. Pointing out they lied to get an account doesn’t help during the lesson. It’s something to point out later.
Over the past five years I’ve asked classes at all our grade levels what they do online.
There has been a general progression down through the grade levels of social media use.
Five years ago, the numbers looked like this:
5th Grade: 90%+ used Facebook or other social media
4th Grade: 40% used Facebook or other social media
3rd Grade: One or Two students per class had myspace or facebook.
5th & 4th Grade: 90%
3rd Grade: 55%
2nd Grade: One or Two students per class
This year, preliminary results find nearly 45% of 2nd graders have personal Facebook accounts. I’m doing my first 3rd Grade class this afternoon, but if the progression holds they should be above 90%.
We need to make sure teachers don’t react negatively. When students feel they are doing something wrong, they won’t talk about it or get the help they need.