Recently in Social Networking Category

According to the latest Pew research, text messaging has become the primary way that teens reach their friends, surpassing face-to-face contact, email, instant messaging and voice calling as the go-to daily communication tool for this age group. However, voice calling is still the preferred mode for reaching parents for most teens.  Click here for more...

Yahoo! Parenting Tips suggest that risk taking behavior in children and adolescents is directly linked to lack of parental monitoring and communication.  And in a recent Associated Press article, there is an apparent correlation between excessive text messaging and risky behavior.  Pew Internet Research reports that beyond the cell phone, more than a quarter of all teens reported using social network sites to socialize or communicate with their friends daily.  Read more...

The University of Maryland conducted a study of 200 students in which they gave up all forms of electronic communication.  Maryland journalism professor Susan D. Moeller, who was director of the study, observed that many students admitted to being "'incredibly addicted' to media." But what she found most eye-opening was the extent to which the study's participants wrote about "how they hated losing their personal connections." For the students, "going without media meant, in their world, going without their friends and family."  Read more....

Some recent Facebook stats from

  • There are more than 3.5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) shared each week on Facebook.
  • More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook.
  • Purpose-built Facebook pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans.
  • 15% of bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging, according to Technorati's new State of the Blogosphere.
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the USA.
  • More than 250 Facebook applications have over a million combined users each month.
  • More than 80,000 websites have implemented Facebook Connect since December 2008 and more than 60 million Facebook users engage with it across these external sites each month.
  • For an interesting visual perspective, check out The Blog Herald.
So, does this huge connectedness translate into more friends?  According to Read Write Web, they predict that by this time next year, social media will no longer be "social will be an integrated, unquestionable component of your online and offline experience."  Read more here....

Regardless of what the platform is, the massive speed of change and adoption of new media among the 12-25 demographic is transforming our society. From whom they trust and rely on to how they perceive privacy and relationships, young people are doing things in a more open and sharing environment and this is having profound implications on how society evolves.  Read on...

The subtle side-effects for a generation that has grown up with texting and social networking sites are just now surfacing.  Researchers are questioning, for example, the meaning of the term "friend," particularly among students, where inflated numbers of superficial friends are commonplace. How could one have 300 plus friends and have all these be classed as friends? Read on...

In the latest Airwide Solutions, 31 global mobile operators were asked to predict how communication will evolve over the next five years. The study revealed that by 2015, 94% of operators believe that social networking will be the most popular form of mobile communication.  For more of this article...

Schools are missing out on important opportunities if they fail to teach these lessons, says ed-tech consultant Alan November.

An awareness of the views of those in other countries, an understanding of how Google ranks the results of a web search, a knowledge of the permanence of information posted online: These are some of the lessons that every student should be learning in today's schools, says education technology consultant Alan November--but not every middle or high school is teaching these lessons.

November was the featured speaker at a Jan. 14 luncheon session during the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando. Although the session focused on how to balance safety and learning in the digital age, during the course of the discussion November also revealed several topics that he said every member of the Net Generation should learn. These four things are...

1. Global Empathy
2. Social And Ethical Responsibility On The Web
3. The Permanence of Information Posted Online
4. Critical Thinking About The Information Found Online

Click here for full article.

Raising a Digital Child

For many parents, raising a child from birth to adulthood in this era of the Internet and all things digital is a daunting prospect.  To help make this transition, the PBS video, Growing Up Online, is an excellent introduction on what it means to be coming of age in the Internet era.

From a different perspective, Mike Ribble has written a book for parents to help guide them in Raising a Digital ChildClick here for an excerpt about determining your digital compass.  Additionally, he outlines the nine elements of a digital citizen.  This book is available from the MPA Library. 

Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens by Nancy Willard is designed to help young people and their parents learn to use the Internet safely and responsibly.  It is available through the Middle School Office.

Some additional parent resources are found at Common Sense Media.  Sign up for an account and connect with others at MPA to find reviews or information about a variety of media.  Grade by Grade guides for media activities help parents to make informed decisions.  Download the 5-6th grade guide here....

The FTC has launched Netcetera, a fee downloadable publication about
Cybersafety.  It's aimed at parents and teachers, and offers good common sense
information and advice.  They will also send out free printed copies in English
or Spanish. No scare tactics or sensationalism and you can get it directly from

The site, GetNetWise, is a wealth of information for parents about kids' safety, spam and security and provides links to products and services.  

Say Yes to No for parents is a site for programs and services to help parents become more adept at setting limits and rules in this new digital age.

Are Children at risk for online predators?  Nancy Willard, director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use writes in her latest blog entry...

"The overwhelming majority of young people are at no risk on online predation from strangers. The data on this (unfortunately 2000) indicated there were 500 arrests for online predation by strangers compared to 65,000 other arrests for sexual abuse of minors.

Children are not at risk. Predators target highly vulnerable teens who are providing online indicators (material and conversations) that they are vulnerable and interested in sex.

Young people face far greater risk from their peers. So separating minors from adults will not protect kids and teens. Further, minors generally become adults in their senior year of high school. Trying to convince teens that as soon as a peer becomes an adult he or she is now a potentially dangerous sexual predator and all contact should be ended would be an exercise in futility - to say the least.

On to digital identification:

In order to digitally identify someone, it is necessary for the Identity Provider to verify the identity and other variables, like age. This is pretty easy to do for adults, with credit cards or driver's licenses. Who has this data for minors? Bingo! Here is where you come in. Schools have this information. In a recent Berkman task force meeting, the ability of schools to identify minors started to take on real steam."  For more on this topic...

To look at the statistics is scary and, porn, and Michael Jackson were among the most popular items kids searched for online in 2009, as tracked by Symantec's OnlineFamily.Norton.

Symantec on Thursday revealed the top 100 favorite search terms among children 18 and under found by its free OnlineFamily.Norton service, which helps parents monitor their kids' online searches. Though innocuous terms like Sesame Street and "New Moon"--a popular movie in the Twilight vampire series--made the cut, sex showed up fourth on the list for boys and fifth for girls, following YouTube, Google, and Facebook as the three top terms.  Below is an overview summary of the results.  For the full here and for Norton's OnlineFamily site click here.


Some new stat comparisons....

As part of its multi-year public affairs campaign to address the emerging issue of teen digital abuse, MTV partnered with the AP on a study that provides an in depth look at the prevalence of digital abuse among young people today. This research was designed to quantify how young people are affected by and respond to issues like sexting, digital harassment and digital dating abuse.  Click here for the full article.

One of the most insidious and pervasive problems with children of all ages is bullying and particularly cyberbullying.  STOP cyberbullying from WiredSafety is a site dedicated to providing relevant information and help with this issue.  For more info....

Additionally, with the spread of cell phone use among children as young as grade 3, it is important for parents to educate themselves in texting here goes...
As your child uses text messaging more often, keep tabs both on the number of messages as well as the content and discuss any messages that sound threatening or dangerous. has created a website, It's My Life, for teens and their parents, that has videos, information and resources dealing with a variety of teen issues.  Check it out here.

Robin Raskin writes in her blog, Raising Digital Kids, about a variety of kid-related issues including the internet.  In her latest blog entry, she would "like to remind parents that the Internet is not an all-or-nothing place for kids. Just like you wouldn't give your kids the keys to the car and tell them to "grab a bunch of friends and drive across the country" on the first day that they're licensed drivers, you don't want to give them the entire Internet experience before they're ready either."  More...

FaceChipz is a new social networking site for parents AND children to help them learn to better navigate the web and connect with other kids using social networking.  The site is designed for parents to monitor their child's online behavior.  Signing up is a three step process:

  • Step One -- The kid creates their account.
  • Step Two - The parent sets up an account to monitor their child.
  • Step Three -- Parental consent is verified.

I just received the current issue of Common Sense Media with a very interesting review of the TV show Gossip Girl.  The particular episode reviewed included drugs, sex slang and under age drinking.  The author commented that in the current environment teens use shows like this to help them decide what is acceptable behavior.  The author wondered if parents have become "numbed" by all the information thrown at them on a daily basis.  To read more about this issue...

This week, the BBC reported that sexting cases are cropping up worldwide, including a note concerning a recent survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies of more than 1,000 teenagers in the US last year.  One of the stats mentioned was that around one in five or 20% of 13 to 19 year olds had sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves either by text or online. 

The U.S. census bureau in 2008 reported there were 21,469,780 teenagers in America between 15 and 19.  The BBC stat that 1 in 5 or 20% of teens implies that just over 4 millions US teens sexted someone last year.  So far, only about 20 cases have been prosecuted.  Read the full article...

Given the actual numbers, is it possible that the media is exaggerating the situation in order to sell more news?  It is not surprising that people are confused.
A recent study by the MacArthur Foundation suggested that social networking might actually be useful.  "It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it's on MySpace or sending instant messages," said Mizuko Ito, lead researcher on the study, "Living and Learning With New Media." "But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They're learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page."  

In light of all of the media hype about sexting, it may be that social networks provide the arena for testing out behavior that "talking in the bathroom" did for earlier generations.  To read more...
For balance, here are some recent statistics about STDs and youth compiled by the Centers for Disease Control. 

"Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. The CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year with almost half of them among young people 15 to 24 years of age as reported in 2007."

While it makes sense that parents want to control what their children see and hear, the media sometimes makes it difficult to understand the actual situation.  Sexting is the new hot thing, but should the focus be on actual outcomes like STDs and public behavior?  It is a good question for discussion.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

What type of technology do YOU use every day? Now, what do your children use? If you said, email, calendars, television or newspapers you would be only half right. Facebook is a daily "thing" with many tweens and teens and Twitter is growing by leaps and bounds. For more on these on.

Watch the Twitter Video!

One of the issues with new technology users is proper email etiquette.   PC Magazine put together a "25 Golden Rules" email list that includes beware of hoaxes, handing out your email address to everyone and what it means to reply-all.  Email etiquette has become, for many people, just as much of a sorting mechanism as clean fingernails were years ago.   For a complete list.... 

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This site is maintained by Upper School Technology Coordinator Theresa Reardon Offerman.