Because of today being the beginning of our Winter Break, there wasn’t much time to follow up on the conversation that I had with the 8th grade about Facebook and their privacy settings on their accounts. The two conversations that I had, however, were very enlightening. In the first one, held with my 11 advisees, I asked them who had changed their settings, and all of them had. Not bad for 2 days! They clearly had heard the message and responded. This morning, with the entire grade, I asked again. The reaction was very positive; lots who had changed theirs and others who were frustrated with themselves that they had forgotten.One girl stated, “When I saw the “Everyone” setting before, I thought that it meant “Everyone of my Friends.” It reminded me of how innocent they are in spite of beginning to look and act like high school Seniors. Getting the message out is now clearly a priority!
I then asked if they had any reactions to the issues that were raised. One girl spoke up and said, “You made it sound so scary.” I had to pause a moment to collect my thoughts. Fear was not the goal.
“I don’t want you to be afraid. I want you to be strong. Strong, young women in the world, interacting from positions of strength. The only way to really be strong is to be able to guard your backs as you tackle challenges in front of you. It is about being aware, taking time to guard against possible problems before they even come up. It is about power, not fear!”
I then gave them an assignment to go into the Applications Settings and count how many Applications they have given access to their information. I will show them how to change those settings in January, but I thought it would be interesting for them to see the number of applications to whom they have given permission.
And that idea sparked another one. I am going to work over Break to put together a survey for the 8th grade about their Facebook use and their thinking about it. If you have any thoughts for questions, please comment or send me a Tweet at @hadleyjf