FOX News, “Americas Newsroom,” aired stills of a few teachers who had pictures of themselves doing inappropriate things, such as posing in front of a Police Interceptor, a female doing a shot, a female doing a body shot and the infamous one where two females were kissing. Is this corrupting youth in America and should these types of activities involving educators require disciplinary action?
In this short ‘exclusive’ performed by FOX, lead by Megyn Kelly, she interviewed two alleged experts in the parenting and education field, both agreed it was inappropriate, but felt different about the action to take. They seemed to concur on the suggestion that teachers should make their social networking profiles private.
Then Megyn Kelly retorted with, “Kids can get past private profiles. That’s not enough. Kids these days can get around private profiles.”
First off, she’s wrong. Second, social network’s security has been tested over and over and now it’s secure. Third, why is it only ‘kids’ who attempt to circumvent profile restrictions?
Anyhow, so the interview concluded with more hysteria and panic, the way every story on FOX News begins and ends. Now, I’ll give my dose of opinion on this.
Social Networking sites are not just for children, they are also for adults. Here’s two main purposes of social networking sites:
- Connect and Support Existing Relationships.
That is, one can reasonably get connected to their “network” of friends and contacts.
- Find and Meet New Online Friends.
That is, one can browse around and meet new people online.
Social Networking and photo sharing Web sites aren’t to blame. Irresponsible users do irresponsible things. Trust me, it’s not the end of the world when FOX uncovers three educators doing inappropriate activities in the land of 300 million users.
If there is one thing that that Facebook excels in with their feed-driven log of activities, it vicariously communicates that anything you post on a social networking Web site is logged and others can easily access it anytime in the future. This helps users better understand how their information can be accessed by the undesirables.
I suggest the best course of action is for school districts to develop a reasonable policy and put together “best practices” for educators on how to interact on social network Web sites. In those best practices, it would primarily focus on Online Reputation Management.
Side note: If a teacher has a photo album marked Private, as a student, I’m even more interested at knowing what’s inside. The best practice in this case is for educators is not to post photos that would put them in hot water.
The benefits outweigh the risks for teachers to be present on social networking sites. As a parent (which I’m not, but I can think objectively), I don’t mind my children’s educators having a MySpace or a Facebook. In fact, I’d add them a friend and keep in contact. The teacher can also broadcast announcements on homework, new assignments or similar types of things that students don’t easily communicate to parents. In fact, I totally don’t mind teachers who are able to showcase their students work online like Art projects online. Flickr anyone? I can see teachers pointing to resources on the Web with a Del.icio.us or even creating their own micro networks on Ning.
I don’t feel that activities like those mentioned earlier corrupt the youth in America. Trust me, they are messed up enough thanks to their parents. If parents are engaged and take an active interest in their children, they will not end up screwed up from teachers having a night out.
I don’t disagree that the activities that FOX displayed were inappropriate; but I disagree with the fact that social networking and teachers need to be regulated. No one is perfect and they will always have their rough edges — educators need to be sanded down and a few pointers to interact positively on social networks.
It should also be pointed out that MySpace’s parent company is News Corporation (FOX).