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.