I think back to a 10th grade english class at Groves High School where my teacher was talking to us about things she had seen on Facebook. She was asking us if we felt that it was ethical for a teacher to punish a student for something witnessed on social networking sites. As a 15 year old, I remember thinking "No way! That's an invasion of privacy!" But is it? Clearly, I did not think that anything I posted on Facebook would leave my circle of friends. Even with privacy settings today, there are still ways for people (employers) to see everything you post. When you delete something from the internet, it's never really deleted. I wonder how many 15 year olds today know that. I also wonder whose job it is to tell them.
As a future teacher, I do feel it is part of my job to educate students on social "literacy". I do not feel that this duty should fall directly on the education system, but this also needs to come from home. This could mean educating parents, as well, on the "do's and dont's" of the internet. As our world becomes increasingly digital, the socialization that comes out of schooling should be addressed in a digital age.
Luckily for me, Facebook did not reach the height of its popularity until I was finishing high school. Meaning, Universities may not have been using this medium as a screening tool for future students. Also luckily for me, I was "smart" enough not to post pictures of me and my friends engaging in NSFW (not safe for web) activities. Looking back, knowing not to post such pictures came from my first encounter with Facebook with my parents looking over my shoulder. My parents were concerned with some of the pictures they saw of my friends and I remember thinking that I would not want them seeing pictures of me like that. Perhaps it was also the idea that I knew teachers could see what was on Facebook, because that had been addressed in class.
We are entering an age in which the students we have in our classrooms will have grown up using such websites. How is their digital literacy different from our own? How can we incorporate the strengths of such literacy into our instruction, and how can we use deficits as a learning opportunity for social and emotional growth? I hope to work through some of these questions in order to benefit my students and the society in which they live.