Part 2: Why we need to learn how to speak “Social Media” 4


In my last post I provided rationale for why it is so important to teach our students how to harness the power of social media and learn how to build their digital identities. When I provide this workshop I address the facts that everyone needs to know in order for them to move forward. The two main facts that I address include:

1. It is illegal to distribute or have in your possession a naked photograph of a minor.

This statement seems simple and straightforward however the students I discuss this with often see a lot of grey in this fact. For example, when I ask the student this: “Let’s say I was 17 years old and I decided to send an inappropriate photograph to my boyfriend who was also 17, would that be illegal?” If I have a dollar for every student who answered NO… Often the students I work with innocently have a skewed outlook of the consequences that might occur. To put things in perspective I will leave the students with this outlook:

Imagine you were to google your grandmother and found a naked photograph of her as a teenager. That could be you!

That one usually get a reaction! Leads me to the fact…

2. Whatever you post online is never EVER private.

Seems straightforward as well right… This one is definitely not as straightforward as it seems. There is false sense of privacy when it comes to this fact, not just with students but I think many adults as well. When I ask the students how many “friends” they have online, I have had students answer up to 1200 + on their Facebook profiles. I explain to the students (and adults I speak to) that even if you have the most strict “privacy settings” online anyone can take a screenshot, or save any facebook picture on their own computer. Therefore, nothing they ever share online is private. I give the students these three tips to leave with:

1. Would your mother approve of what you are about to post?

2. Would your grandmother be embarrassed by what you are about to post?

3. Could what you are about to post hurt you from getting a job if your future boss saw it?

Once we get the negative out of the way we discuss HOW students can begin to own their digital identities. Stay tuned for part 3 of this post.

If you would like to see my annotated, shortened presentation, you can watch it here:


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4 thoughts on “Part 2: Why we need to learn how to speak “Social Media”

  • Zoe Bettess

    Excellent post! One of my grade 3 students has inappropriate pictures on their Twitter page. I have asked my students the questions you give as tips. It is important for them to understand about being careful with what they put out there.

  • BeenSchooled

    Right on! This is a great post, and written in a language that we often shy away from. I definitely agree that we should be teaching digital citizenship with a similar tenacity that we teach reading and writing. At the end of the day, it’s all about how we comport ourselves in our community, and the students simply have a much larger community than we may have growing up. Thanks for posting this.