Fred Stutzman prior to HigherEd BlogCon and invited him to present his thoughts on Facebook. Fred “share(s) some suggestions regarding how administrators should approach and understand the Facebook.” It is well worth the read. Visit How University Administrators Should Approach the Facebook: Ten Rules.wish I had known of
Facebook is a bane of my, and other educators, existence. For anyone that deals with computer labs, the site has an addictive quality for students that surpasses crack and heroin. OK, a bit over-stated, but not far from the truth.
Still, all that I can deal with if I have to on a day-to-day basis. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to make a student close the site. My real concern? The potential for harm that may come to one of my students is what really bothers me. Students are too willing to share any and all information about themselves. They do not take the precautions they should by making their portion of the site only available to friends – people they actually know and want to interact with online. They do not always leave off personal information. They too often post photos that may attract undesirable attention.
We have our own little goofy stories of students posting too much personal info and then having it come back to bite them. The one we most often refer to is the student that posted her life’s activity schedule from class to tennis playing online. She also had her phone number, home address and class schedule on her Facebook site. Then, one day she was stunned to be out playing tennis and receive an unwanted visitor. She reported to her friends that this “creepy” guy showed up at the tennis court and said he found her through Facebook.
My point? We have no idea if any assaults may have already occured via this kind of online stalking. I don’t want any to take place and therefore try to educate my students about the potential dangers. Facebook should be doing it, too. Collleges, high schools and parents – all of us – should be doing this, as well. The danger is too real.
I wonder if any actuarial tables already exist in C-suites and venture capital offices when the purchase or support of a social media site is being considered. The risk is high, I’d bet. It is untested in court, I imagine. Can Facebook and MySpace, etc. show that they have (a) provided enough cautionary advice to users and (b) made them go through enough hoops to assure the users have read all that cautionary evidence? I doubt it. Is it encumbent upon them to do so? I think it is. But, they likely won’t do it until forced to by a court case or overwhelming bad publicity. So, until then, the duty must lie with us to help protect the students.
Read Fred’s article and take it to heart.
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