Memo to Facebook: Face up to security responsibilities

Similarly, universities and colleges would compete to provide professional development workshops for teachers, concerning how they might safely and effectively integrate social networking in their curriculum and how to provide guidance for parents and students.

We should not make social networking into an evil–it is clearly meeting a lot of needs, and it could even be argued that social networks now are becoming a primary means by which young people develop a part of their social identity as they interact with their peer group and as they define themselves in terms of their likes and dislikes, their comments, photographs, and more.

These places for experiment and self-discovery are culturally important, as well as psychologically important, and it is obvious that banning social networking sites or building up exaggerated fears is not only inappropriate, but will backfire.

Students need clear guidelines concerning responsible internet use, and they are ready to listen to that message from peers they trust–peers who both understand from a personal standpoint the role these sites play in young people’s lives and can give them appropriate examples of safe use.

Laurence Peters is vice president of CyberLearning, and Barry Mansfield is director of education of CyberSmart!

Laura Ascione

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