Welcome to The Digital Hallway, where Parents, Teachers, and Teens can learn about using Social Media safely and effectively for a positive future.
Social Media is the fastest growing communications tool in human history. It has connected the world in a way that no other form of communication ever has……and we have only tapped the surface of its potential.
Yet with all of this opportunity and conversation, we still do not teach our youth about it. For the most part, we accept the fact that the current (and future) generations, the “Digital Natives”, will simply know how it works as soon as they pick it up for the first time. To a point, this is true. The curious mind of a child will explore who something works to see what it is capable of doing, finding the things that capture their minds and imaginations and running with it until something new gains their attention.
This approach, however, is fraught with danger. From online bullying to dealing with online predators to sexting and porn, our youth are exposed to a myriad of things that we try desperately to help them avoid in the offline world. At the same time, we are missing the opportunity to show them the vast possibilities available to them, from building a positive Digital Footprint before entering the workforce, to building on an entrepreneurial dream from keyboard of a laptop.
The time has come for Social Media and the digital space to become part of the education of our youth, both in the home and in the schools….and the only way we do this is to enter their space and learn with them……enter The Digital Hallway.
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In 2015, I began teaching kids, in Grade 1o Career Planning classes, about how to build and manage their own LinkedIn accounts. I taught them about the importance and value of their Social Media Footprint and their online reputation. I taught them how to build their online resumes for their futures in employment and post-secondary education. Why? Because today’s employers and post-secondary Universities and Colleges look at their applicants Social Media profiles before they even get to an in-person interview. It is the way the world works, now, and in the future. What I discovered was there was so much more that needed to be taught, because Parents and Teachers were not yet fully prepared to continue the education.
The Digital Hallway is a program that teaches parents, teachers, and teens about Social Media. Not just the bad side, but the good, as well.
There is a common thread when it comes to Social Media, Students and Schools. It goes something like this;
– Something bad happens, in the Social Media space, between kids or between kids and adults.
– Parents freak out and point the finger at the schools.
– Schools and School Boards say that they are doing everything they can to prevent these things from happening and go into defensive mode.
– Schools bring in experts to speak to the kids about Social Media Safety and the evil things that can happen online
– 6 months later, everyone has forgotten what was presented to them in a one hour talk.
– Something bad happens, in the Social Media space, between kids or between kids and adults…..and the cycle begins, again.
The Digital Hallway is designed to put an end to that because it isn’t just a one-hour presentation to the entire school. It is a program to teach kids how to use Social Media to their benefit and how to manage their Social Media footprint. It is a program that teaches parents how to monitor their kids Social Media and how to mentor and guide them in their Social Media use. It is a program that teaches the teachers on how to bring Social Media into the classroom as a tool, rather than a distraction. How to walk The Digital Hallway with their students, rather than standing on the outside and never seeing what is happening.
I have also developed a program to help Parents understand Social Media more, as well. We expect a lot of our teachers, but there is a great deal about the Social Media space that requires a parent’s guidance. The program also involves helping the parent understand how to interact with their schools and school districts, online. Issues around privacy and online etiquette, event and fundraising efforts, information sharing and personal online conduct. Kids follow the lead of their parents and ensuring that lead is a positive one is the best place to start when it comes to developing our children into solid Digital Citizens.
The time has long since past when it comes to simply “discussing” Social Media in our schools. The time has come to start educating everyone about how to be better with Social Media, at home, school, and work. It’s time to enter The Digital Hallway.
To support The Digital Hallway, please a donation via my Patreon account;
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