Help Students Think about What They Post Online

I’ve read recently about several situations where adults read and acted upon information posted in personal student blogs. I’ve been surprised that the students view this as an invasion of privacy. What do you think?

Part of growing up includes learning from mistakes. This includes saying and/or writing inappropriate things and suffering the consequences. Until recently, this usually meant dealing with ‘he-said, she-said’ gossip and notes that were passed around. Now students often post online the kind of thing they used to write in a note, and I don’t think they understand the possible ramifications of doing this. Not just the immediate consequences of a school official reading and acting on what’s been posted, but possible long term impacts as well.

Growing numbers of employers are ‘Googling’ the names of prospective and current employees to find and read their blogs and other online postings. There have been several recent instances where applicants were not hired or employees were fired based upon things they wrote and posted online. Students need to understand that publicly posted messages are not private and may have consequences. If you’re school is not doing so already, it would be a good idea to incorporate instruction in online etiquette along with lessons in online safety.

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