Besides teaching, I also coach football, wrestling, and track at my high school. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a new trend on social media, mostly Twitter, that I’m not sure I’m thrilled about. Take a look at these Tweets and guess what’s under the red bars:
If you guessed student-athletes’ usernames, you’re correct!
Not only are many media outlets and organizations including student-athletes full names in Tweets, which isn’t really new, but they are also including their usernames, the @ part of Twitter that lets you Tweet @ someone, with growing frequency.
Some of these accounts that are tagging students have thousands of followers. That means these thousands of followers now know our athletes usernames and can contact them as they please. That scares me.
Obviously, we can’t stop people from tagging or Tweeting our kids, but it is becoming vital that we teach all of our students about Digital Citizenship and that what they post on the internet is like a tattoo: it is there forever. It is a well know fact that colleges (opens in new tab)check out potential students’ social media accounts. I tell my students and athletes, if they know your Twitter name they can read your feed and something you write might come back to haunt you one day. Coaches, it is also important to make sure our athletes know the NCAA rules on who is allowed to contact them and when and what they are allowed to say.
Like most things having to do with social media, naming and tagging students has pros and cons, but no matter what side you fall on, I think we can all agree that teaching our students about Digital Citizenship should be part of every schools’ curriculum. The best defense is a strong offense education.
Until next time,
cross-posted at Teched Up Teacher
Chris Aviles teaches English at Barnegat High School in New Jersey. He presents on education topics including gamification, technology integration, BYOD, blended learning, and the flipped classroom. Read more at Teched Up Teacher.