Facebook hands teenagers a megaphone

Recently ReadWrite published a post explaining that Facebook now

…officially wants teens to overshare as well, in ways that might also make them better fodder for advertising.

Facebook announced today that teenage users can now make their posts public on Facebook. Previously, the social network limited users between the ages of 13 and 17 to distributing posts to their extended network—i.e. friends and friends of friends. Teenage users also now have the option to turn on the “follow” setting for their accounts, letting public updates appear in news feeds.

Read the whole post here.

A social profile is not a CV

Recently The Age published an article stating that a social media profile is not a CV. Year 11 student Olympia Nelson states:

Young people need to be protected from cyber-spying by prospective employers.

It’s creepy to think that you’re being stalked. But how much creepier is it that a group of people sit around a long table analysing information on your Facebook profile in order to decide whether you’re worthy of a job in their organisation?

The government is not going to protect you from people looking at what you publish. It’s up to you to portray yourself as you’d like to be seen. She continues:

When teachers say: ‘‘Do you know that employers will actually search you on Facebook’’, they are implicitly condoning, rather than condemning, this despicable and illogical intrusiveness. Why aren’t they devoting their energies to berating search companies for cyber-stalking?

Like it or not, what you put out to the public domain via social media is going to be viewed and used by others. Whether it’s a prospective employer or worse, what you publicly publish is open to all. We aren’t condoning it, we’re just telling it like it is. A reminder to think before you post.

School to monitor students’ social media posts

In an interesting development, CNN is reporting that a California school district is spending over $40,000 on monitoring students’ Facebook posts, comments, tweets and the like for  a year.

The district in Glendale, California, is paying $40,500 to a firm to monitor and report on 14,000 middle and high school students’ posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for one year.

Though critics liken the monitoring to government stalking, school officials and their contractor say the purpose is student safety.

As classes began this fall, the district awarded the contract after it earlier paid the firm, Geo Listening, $5,000 last spring to conduct a pilot project monitoring 9,000 students at three high schools and a middle school. Among the results was a successful intervention with a student “who was speaking of ending his life” on his social media, said Chris Frydrych, CEO of the firm.

Do you think this is a good way to keep students safe or an invasion of privacy? Read the whole story and see the video here.

Like, post, share

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has published the final version of the report Like, post, share: young Australians’ experience of social media.

Some of the results include:

  • Two thirds of 12-13 year olds (67 per cent) used a social networking service (SNS) in the last four weeks on a computer, 85 per cent of 14-15 year olds have done this, as have 92 per cent of 16-17 year olds.
  • The younger age group (eight to 11 years) are active social network users – 78 per cent of eight to nine year olds and 92 per cent of 10-11 year olds have used a social network. The most popular social network amongst this younger age group was YouTube—more than half of the eight to nine year olds surveyed (53 per cent) and the majority of 10-11 year olds (69 per cent) had used this site.
  • The majority of 12-17 year olds reported having used a social network,– especially those aged 14-17 years (97 per cent of 14-15 year old and 99 per cent of 16-17 year old internet users).
  • Facebook was the most popular social network service for 12-17 year olds. The majority of Facebook users use the site at least daily and in some cases, more often. For example, the majority of Facebook users aged 14 and over in our study were more likely to use Facebook more than once a day (47 to 50 per cent) than daily (32 per cent). (page 8)
  • Twenty one per cent of 14-15 year olds reported having been cyberbullied, compared with four per cent of eight to nine year olds. Reported experiences of cyberbullying amongst 10-17 year olds appears stable since 2009, but has marginally increased for the youngest age group (eight to nine year olds).
  • The children and young people who reported that they had been cyberbullied were also asked who they told, and the majority did tell someone. All the eight to 11 year olds who had experienced cyberbullying told someone, and the majority of the older children did so as well (89 per cent of 12-13 year olds, 93 per cent of 14-15 year olds and 87 per cent of 16-17 year olds told someone).
  • Thirteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that within their group of friends, either they or someone else has sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of themselves to someone else. Eighteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that they or someone within their group of friends had received sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of someone else. Parents underestimated the extent to which their children were exposed to sexting.

Read the whole report here.

Fears for generation online taken too far?

This article, published by Essential Kids, will help put parents’ minds at ease when it comes to worrying about the dangers their children may face online.

Fears for generation online taken too far? explains:

Every era has its own moral panic, and there’s no doubt in many minds that the peril stalking today’s children comes cloaked in the garb of social media. It’s not surprising that many parents, teachers and health professionals are worried when headlines regularly implicate online social media as a factor in everything from school bullying to teen suicide…  The truth is that most kids above a certain age use social media and online networking sites, and the vast majority do so without major incident.

If you read the comments on pretty much any article about the internet gone wrong you’d be forgiven for thinking that for most kids it’s a jungle out there and that inattentive parents are to blame, but the actual figures show that only 3% of children using the internet experience some kind of threatening event online and 98% of parents implement safety and security strategies around internet use at home.

Read the whole piece here.

Tweets can be used as evidence

In the last few months, tweets and Facebook posts by people who have allegedly committed crimes have led media and police directly to them. Now comes the news that tweets can be used in evidence by courts of law. The Age reports:

London: British lawyers have warned that people’s tweets could be used as evidence against them, after a California teenager had a manslaughter charge upgraded to murder partly because of boasts on Twitter. 

Barrister Mark McDonald told Britain’s Metro newspaper: ‘‘ The police … may ask someone alleging rape to send a message to the person they are accusing asking why they did it. Their reply can then be used in evidence.’’

 

Joining your teenagers on Facebook improves your relationship

Although I’m sure many teenagers would disagree, the Huffington Post is reporting that parents who friend their teenage children on Facebook enjoy a stronger relationship than those who don’t.

There’s a new study out of Brigham Young University that says engaging with your kids on social media sites helps strengthen your bond. The study found that teens who were the most connected to their parents on Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media felt closer to them in real life. Those teens were also less likely to be depressed, delinquent or behave aggressively.

However, article author Ann Brenoff states that

I am unconvinced of the value of parent-teen bonding versus the potential harm of a misstep by a kid on social media. Learning to use social media safely and appropriately is a process. Some kids get it and some kids will learn it the hard way. For now, I will continue to monitor my kids’ online gaming activities, perform spot Instagram checks just like the spot urine tests given athletes — all the while teaching my kids about what is safe and appropriate “sharing” with real and virtual friends. The Internet is full of land mines and parents shouldn’t need social media to talk to their children about it or anything else.

Read the whole article here.