I just read this article in the NYTimes: "Students Find a Way to Thwart Facebook Bans" by Jennifer Conlin and I was struck by the contrast of two valid comments. The first from a Middle School student who informed his Dad that getting around his school's firewall to access Facebook was "pretty easy" following it with "Don’t be an idiot. We know more about computers than the teachers do.” Meanwhile a high school student observed "Some kids stay after school to do homework, just because they know they can’t get on Facebook so they won’t be distracted."
What strategies do you use to help students recognize the appropriate way to balance their use of sites like Facebook with the time they need to spend reading and studying? Do you try to block their access to certain sites, or do you try to create teachable moments? If you block the sites, how do you talk about it? And if you use the teachable moments what do you say and do to make those valuable?
What an interesting question, Katrina! I have 3 children, and only my oldest has a Facebook account. We simply set parameters at the outset and let him know that we would be monitoring his usage of the site. We told him that we would curtail access if we saw anything inappropriate or overuse. To date, we've had no issues.
It's been interesting, though, to see how many of his friends are on Facebook and obviously have no parental monitoring whatsoever. I can definitely see the "digital divide" in some families and worry that those children have unfettered access. It's certainly a parenting--and teaching--challenge for the modern age!