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Re: [K12OSN] Re: OT: "MySpace.com" or "policies for when computer use

RiE wrote:
On 1/27/06, Mike Ely <mely rogueriver k12 or us> wrote:

Thanks to all for a very interesting and enlightening discussion.
Ultimately, what it came down to for me is that while myspace might have
some uses (I see more now having read this thread), we're saturating our
dual-T1 uplink as it is, and so it's necessary to cut the fluff where

I've stayed off this thread until now because my experience with myspace in our school was too alarming but here goes.

Myspace-type use of the Internet is something that I was, until last spring, unaware of and uninterested in. I'm a different generation (grandparent class) and Wizardry was the last non-professional use of computers that really excited me. I guess I'm too old for the newer stuff.

Last spring, entirely by accident, I discovered a student's myspace page. One of our middle school girls had posted an enticing picture, personal information (enough to locate her), and a daily log that detailed, among other things, her romantic interests and activities.

I saw the page and freaked, printed a copy, carried the paper to the principal's office and left it to him to clean up the mess.

This child had just finished a unit on the dangers of posting personal information on a web site. Got a good grade too. I know because I taught the class.

Since the entries were date/time stamped, we could tell what classes she was in when she was updating her journal (math on Monday, English on Wednesday, social studies on Friday, etc. as well as evenings and weekends at home.)

I blocked myspace and all similar web sites I could identify (and I now troll for new web sites with similar uses and block them too.) Then we talked to the faculty and the principal talked to the parents.

The student thought it would be OK to do this (during math class if you please) because her web page was "password protected." As I said at the beginning of this post, I found it entirely by accident (some password protection). Until I saw her web page I had never even heard of Myspace.

Problem Areas Identified:
Teachers who do not closely monitor student computer use.
Parents who do not closely monitor student computer use.
Technology manager who never dreamed how naive seventh graders could be about technology and how advanced they are about more fundamental physical activities (and what they would publish on-line). Adults and children who believe that there is any such thing as a "private web page" on the Internet.

We don't have that problem anymore (because I've blocked the web sites) but I've heard through the grapevine that the student is still continuing her experiments in technology and human relations but as extra curricular activities.

So basically we've deflected or hidden the problem but we haven't solved it.

I realize that our experience with myspace is a sample of one, but I have no interest in further trials to increase the sample size.

Mark Goodridge

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