Bullying – a condition made worse by the use of technology

This link was in my stream this morning ( and it prompted the following thoughts.

We had a discussion in class about the use of technology as an extension of self.  Examples of eyeglasses (a technology) becomes and extension of one’s self, helping the person to see (good thing) but then also opening them up to criticizing/bullying (bad thing).  One of my classmates is working on a paper that is focusing on bullying and how technology (internet) acts as an extension of the bullied/bully (this is my paraphrasing).


Virtual Addiction is REAL!

This really hit me today when I noticed a wall post from someone I know (in the real world).  They stated that they’d be gone for the weekend, but not to worry if anyone saw posts from them because they had asked someone to take care of their farm.  This is s VIRTUAL farm mind you.

So what is the importance of this? Well, I’m taking classes that are based on technology and education.  Part of those classes focus on social media and how the youth of today are more “wired” than ever.  With this wiring, comes this chance for addiction.  We are so concerned about drug and alcohol use in the youth of today, but what about internet use?

The youth of today run the very real risk of being socially dysfunctional when it come to interacting with with real people in real time.  They’ve all got lots and lots o’ friends online, but when it comes to preferences some would rather use the computer as an interface to interacting with their friends than face to face.  Of course, this is just based off of casual observations of my son and his friends.  Even when friends are over their interaction tends to be around the computer or game console.

And it’s not just the kids.  About a  year ago CNN published “Five clues that you are addicted to Facebook” and that’s not the only danger.  I’ve seen stories of kids being left alone while parents played online games.  Kids left alone to the point of being considered child neglect or abuse.

So, does that mean we should all become unplugged?  Nah, but if you can’t be “disconnected” for a day or two without starting to twitch, you may want to take a serious look at your usage.



Hot for teacher

Yeah, that headline caught your attention didn’t it?  I saw this article on Social networking sites can be mine fields for teachers in The Salt Lake Tribune and thought I’d make a comment or two on it.

It’s not a new story by any means. Student and teachers see each other on a daily basis. And, when the age difference between the two can be as little as four years, it only seems normal that hormones could come into play.  It’s been in the news, teachers crossing the lines with students.  Add to that the prevalence of social networking and the fact that a teacher entering the workforce now has always had Facebook and MySpace, both launched in 2004 and you have a whole new venue for potential trouble.

Does that mean as a teacher you shouldn’t be on MySpace or Facebook?  I don’t think so, but I think it is important as an educator that you think about the potential implications of being friends with students on such social networks.  Additionally, as an educator, if you were to see students engaging in illegal activities on a social networking site, would you be required, ethically, to say something?

Even now, college students are finding out that employers are looking at social networking sites before hiring an individual.  Don’t think it’s true? I can tell you that I personally check facebook when considering student hires.  The same would be true for a full time hire.  It would be the same thing as checking for published papers to see what an individual’s perspective is on a particular subject.  So, just remember, that keg stand you did in college could come back to haunt you in the end.  Social networking, while great for keeping in touch with friends, can be a double edged sword.

So what is the answer?  Where are the lines drawn?  I don’t know.  I think the area is just going to get grayer…. just like my hair.