Two weeks ago, I started a conversation about Parents, Facebook and Social Networking.
This very important conversation has been echoing across the Internet recently and in some major studies that have been released. Schools need to collaborate with their communities and parents. All of us are in the same boat, we are trying to promote social networking, while we are teaching students about how to be be good Internet Citizens or Netizens. At the same time are trying to reach out to parents and teach them in along with their students.
So, how did our parent workshop/conversation play out? We had a very committed group attend our Facebook and Privacy settings workshop. We shared some great articles and resources. The parents asked great questions, the same questions we as educators often wrestle with. The main questions were about: When is the right age for their children to join Facebook?, What is the purpose of Facebook?, Should they friend their friends children? The best things, they asked for more workshops and they asked how we can spread the word to others who may not have been in attendance. One way to spread the word is to keep posting information in blogs and by joining other parent and school groups promoting online conversations. As educators and parents we shared our knowledge about Facebook, child development and living in our media and social network driven society. All of us have questions, and while none of us have all the answers, most of us can share the critical pieces we need to build our understanding.
The rest of this article focuses on more resources and information for you all to share. It is hard to keep up with all the changes and ideas, but necessary. As quickly as we prepare an evening or workshop for parents, our information is already outdated. What is a parent to do? Find a trusted resource for current information and get involved in some kind of face to face or online conversation with other parents.
Much of the drop in blogging among younger internet users may be attributable to changes in social network use by teens and young adults. Nearly three quarters (73%) of online teens and an equal number (72%) of young adults use social network sites. By contrast, older adults have not kept pace; some 40% of adults 30 and older use the social sites in the fall of 2009. These figures provided by the Pew Internet and American Life Project give credence to the work that needs to done teaching parents as well as our students.
A high School chemistry teacher asked, How to set up a Facebook Fan page and why? I found a resource to help with that question. This also applies to small businesses and schools. Being at Facebook is really about being in the right place all the right times. If we play out the statistics, over 47% of our parents are on Facebook. With one click they can check our school facebook/fan pages. Instead many of us are still only offering email as a way for parents to get information, or sending them to another website. Today is about multiple ways to inform people. If we are still only relying on newsprint, we aretruly missing the boat. Check out Bob Sprankle's post about Information Overload, we need balance and that will be determined by our audience.
As of September 2009, 47% of online adults used a social networking website, compared with the 73% of teens who did so at a comparable point in time. This is all the more reason why we need to encourage educators and parents to engage in social networks and build our learning.
Please continue this conversation and sharing of resources with all of us. One way is a collaborative effort at the wiki of Lorna Constantini http://digitalparent.wikispaces.com Another way to keep current is to listen in to Parents as Partners at Edtechtalk.com
Be Net Savvy
Thanks to Libreanne for sharing her school site: https://sites.google.com/a/tokyois.com/digitalcitizenship/
Thanks to Mike Arsenaulthttp://blog.mikearsenault.net/2009/04/teaching-parents-about-facebook-and.html
Pew Internet for American Life Project
PBS- Frontline Digital Nation
Thanks to Susan Van Gelder for her photo!