Archive for the ‘eSafety’ Category
Strange title I know but has it got you thinking? Facebook is now a massive social influence on young persons lives. They keep in touch via it, arrange to meet via it and also play games via it. I’m sure they would instruct it to make the tea if it could! But, worryingly there are more and more stories appearing in the national press daily concerning cyberbullying – some of which takes place on Facebook.
So, a lot of colleges have taken the opportunity to ban Facebook and heavily filter a lot of sites that could cause these issues. Surely that’s the answer to stopping it from happening? Not really. Think about it… the majority of learners now have unfiltered access to the internet on a multitude of devices. They can surf the web on their phones, their Wii, their DSi, their PSP, and don’t forget, their home computer. So why have colleges decided that the answer to stopping Cyberbullying is to block everything potentially dangerous on their computer networks? Cyberbullying won’t happen then will it? Of course it will, you’re just moving the problem – how blinkered. From doing this what’s been created is a culture where learners will not know how to react if it happens to them which effectively is like pushing it under the carpet.
So this is where librarians come in. Librarians have always been information specialists and have been offering Information Skills training to all learners (and staff) for years. So, using the arguments above, surely the best way forward to address the issue of cyberbullying is “education and not prevention”. Seems to me that the obvious answer is for the librarians to become the experts on how to use social networking sites safely and introduce the concepts in their existing training opportunities. So, getting back to the title, let’s start with Facebook.
Recently Facebook have updated their privacy settings (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/10167143.stm) and, although still a little difficult to set up, there’s a lot that can now be done to protect Facebook users – but without someone on hand to help, how will learners who use Facebook ever know.
I’ve changed the privacy settings and effectively split my Facebook account into two – work colleagues get to see work information and personal friends see the rest. People I don’t know can’t see much about me. Try and find me on Facebook and see. If I know you, I’ll add you as an appropriate friend.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) have an extremely thought-provoking video that anyone who registers for their Thinkyouknow training (http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/) gets access to which shows a young girl advertising all her personal information via a billboard in her front garden for everyone to see. Effectively this is what a lot of Facebook users are doing – worrying isn’t it.
So, librarians. Take up the challenge. Learn about what can be done on Facebook and start getting to know it and how you can help your learners stay safe online. Start offering training on how to use Facebook effectively. Go on the CEOP Thinkyouknow training to give you some ideas (http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/teachers/training.aspx).
Educate the learner and don’t just hide the issue under the carpet! It’s not going to help…