How Is Social Media Impacting Childhood?

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ThinkingThis week in EC&I830 we had another great ed tech debate which has led me to ask a lot of questions and reflect on my childhood.  My mind has been going in different directions!

How is social media impacting children?

Is social media actually ruining childhood?

Amy, Logan, and Carter (the agree side) shared with our class how social media is affecting children in a negative way and is ruining childhood. While Ellen and Elizabeth (the disagree side) presented to our class how social media is not ruining childhood and how it can have a positive impact on children’s lives.  Both sides presented very strong arguments and did an excellent job!

The agree side presented to us an article from The Huffington Post- Social Media Affects Child Mental Health Through Increased Stress, Sleep Deprivation, Cyberbulling, Experts Say.  In the article it started off talking about a girl who was unable to get away from bullying due to the online world of social media.  She talked about her struggle getting verbally bullied face-to-face and how the bullying continued to happen on Facebook.  Later in the article it stated “A potent mix of cyberbullying, increased anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation are increasingly linked to mental illness in children, campaigners, doctors and psychologists have told The Huffington Post UK.”  This article reminded me of my The Good, The Bad, and The…What Side Are You On? blog post that explored if technology is making our kids unhealthy.  During this blog post I looked at both sides of the debate to see how technology was negatively and positively affecting physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, and the social health and the well-being of children.  Throughout that post I tried to make a point that there are two sides to the debate which have valid pros and cons to social media as well as the positive and negative affects that social media can have on kids.  In The Huffington Post article there were a few points that stood out the most to me:

  • “With adolescents we know there is a link between social interactions and self-esteem, that they spend lots of time online and that a lot of that time is spent on social networks,” she tells HuffPost UK.”
  • “Young people often act first and think of the consequences afterwards; they do not consider how an act now can affect them in future years,” Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Birmingham’s Woodbourne Priory Hospital, told HuffPost UK. This can have a profound effect on the self-esteem, mood and anxiety levels.  By posting pictures or comments on social media they open themselves to scrutiny from many more peers than they are used to when doing this in a classroom – and their comments and pictures are now permanent.”

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putting on make up

In Amy Martin’s blog post, Amanda Todd and The Myth of Digital Dualism, she raised many great points about society and the sexualization of women.  In her post she wrote, “According to Media Smarts, “three-year-olds already prefer game pieces that depict thin people over those representing heavier ones, while by age seven girls are able to identify something they would like to change about their appearance.”” I agree Amy, this is terrifying!  Our children and youth are exposed to so much media through television, music, movies, magazines, advertisements, Youtube, Internet, and all the different forms of social media.  There are so many pressures for people to look and act a certain way. I can remember watching a documentary called Sext Up KIDS when I took EC&I832.  During the documentary it discusses and “reveals how our hyper-sexualized culture has hijacked childhood and what parents and educators are doing to fight back.”  (I encourage you to watch it, but without young children because it is geared for a mature audience as it has profanity and highly sexualized images throughout the documentary).  What messages are we sending our children and youth?? The documentary gave a powerful message how youth are not just consuming images online, but producing images now as well I discussed this in a previous blog The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media

Jessica Henrion wrote a thoughtful post called “#nofilterlifestyle.”  Jessica talked about how we need to teach children to love and care for themselves.  She quoted CBC (2013) “You can get a different version of yourself…. You can edit yourself.” Now with technology we can retake photos until they are “perfect”, edit photographs according to our style, and we can even add a filter over the photo!  I thought Jessica made an excellent point when she stated:

… we need to help our students become confident individuals that love themselves.  We need to help tear down the expectations social media has to be beautiful and perfect.  We need to help our students lead a #nofilter lifestyle!!  By doing this we can hopefully begin to prevent our students from reaching out to the online world in unhealthy ways.

Can you guess which photograph has no filter?

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On Snapchat there are now different filters that you can use to change up your photographs.  Some of the filters are meant to be silly while others you can use to “enhance” your appearance.  One of the filters that I used evened out my completion (also looks like I have eyeliner on now) while the other filter gives more of the smokey eye effect and thinned my face.  I was raised that I am beautiful with or without make up on and that I do not need to change who I am!  What message do these types of filters send to children and teens?

I do have to admit that sometimes the filters that you can add to a photo are a lot of fun! Do students feel comfortable enough to share silly pictures of themselves?

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Children and teens are feeling the pressure to look a certain way!  In an article called Does social media impact on body image? it discussed how “Magazines and television are often blamed for portraying an ideal body image that causes people to question their looks and lose confidence in themselves. But what about the role social media plays in moulding attitudes to the way we look?”  Later in the article “The MPs’ report said pressure to look good had pushed up cosmetic surgery rates by nearly 20% since 2008. ”  That is very scary statistic to me! 

 On April 7th, 1995 my life and my family’s world was shaken!  SCRYL-COPIE16061322041_0002When I was just seven years old I was diagnosed with Necrotizing Fasciitis also known as flesh eating disease.  Doctors had to remove the diseased tissue and once I was in the clear then they performed skin graphs.  I was left with visible scarring across my chest, on my right shoulder, and down the right side of my back.  I  discussed my experience in a previous blog post called Will You Be The One To Speak Out??  I  talked about not wanting to hide my scars because why would I ever want to hide who I am!  My scars tell my story of survival and I am proud of who I am today.  I do often wonder if my journey would have drastically changed if social media was around when I was sick.  I can recall many newspapers telling my story when I was sick and I still have all of the articles from different newspapers in a special box.  The picture above is one of the many newspaper clippings I have from when I was young and in the hospital.  I can even remember being on CTV Regina news when I came out of the hospital!  I was sitting in my living room when I saw the clip and saw my photograph on the television.  I asked my parents why they were talking about me because at the time I did not understand how serious my illness was and how worried everyone in the community was.  Facetime would have been amazing when I was in the hospital so I could have talked my family more often especially my older sister and younger brother.  I missed them so much while I was in the hospital as I only got to see them on the weekends.  I also wonder what people would have wrote about me in all of the different forms of social media if it existed over twenty years ago. Maybe social media would have made me more self conscious about my body?  Maybe if I was older I would have wished to use a filter to try to hid my scar?? There could have been a lot of positives too! Maybe I would have found groups of people who had similar surgeries before?  Maybe people would have created a group to write me notes to send positive encouragement and prayers to my family?  With social media there are some negatives sides, but there are so many positive aspects of social media! 

I believe we are always very hard on ourselves and sometimes tend to see our faults first instead of our strengths. 

Check out this video below!

In this Dove video it showcases how we truly are our own worst critic and we see all of our flaws that do not stand out to other people.  We need to start to embrace who we are and focus on the positives instead of the negatives!

There are other videos to view that were created by Dove that showcases how media “enhances” images before the photographs go on billboards or adds.  The video was called  Dove Evolution | With some images, all is not what it seems. Near the end of the video these words appear on the screen, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”  I could not agree more! I was excited to see that dove and the campaign were looking at the male version of real beauty as well.  That video is called Dove campaign for real beauty (male version).  I think that sometimes we forget that boys need to talk about self esteem too.  Boys have pressures to look a specific way just like girls do.  There is another video called Dove Legacy | A girl’s beauty confidence that explores the importance being role models to children by loving ourselves and not cutting our self down with negative thoughts.  Finally there is another great video called Dove Real Beauty Sketches | Mothers & Daughters.  I think these Dove videos are great to view because they open to the doors to have great conversations in the classroom.  It also gives students time to understand the importance of loving yourself! 

Here are some other resources for teaching self-esteem:

In the CNN article “Is social media ruining our kids?” a comment that stood out to me in the video was when they talked about how what kids are posting is not matching what they are feeling.  It reminded me of the video that Amy, Logan, and Carter shared with us to watch to have more understanding on how social media can effect us.

I encourage you to also read an article called Split Image by Kate Fagan and watch the video that is linked in the article.  The message from the video above connects to Madison Holleran’s personal story.  “On Instagram, Madison Holleran’s life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend. But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on.”  Parents, teachers, and community members need to make sure they are reach out to students and build positive relationships with them.

In the CNN article “Is social media ruining our kids?” it started off by stating “It is 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are? A decade ago, if your answer to that question was, “Yes, at home,” you felt comfortable that your children were in a safe and secure place. That’s no longer true. Now that kids have smartphones and tablets, they can hang out on a dangerous street corner without ever leaving their room.”  I encourage you to watch another documentary about a young girl named Amanda Todd.  The Fifth Estate’s documentary was entitled The Sextortion of Amanda Todd and during the documentary it talks about Amanda’s life.  Amanda had a beautiful voice and often posted videos of her singing on YouTube using her webcam from her bedroom.  One day she made one mistake in front of her webcam that led to her being bullied at the schools she attended, online, and also being blackmailed online.  Students need to be educated not only about positive self esteem and , but they need also need to understand digital citizenship.  I do not want my students to have to go through online shaming.  I am hoping that I can teach powerful life lessons to my students when they are young so they do not have to go through the online shaming that Justine Sacco has inquired from one Tweet she posted on Twitter. I have explored online shaming before in two previous posts called Do You Think Before You Post or Share Online? and my Do You Have A Digital Tattoo? What Story Does It Tell?.

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It is important not to just look at one side of the debate!  Ellen and Elizabeth shared with us some great articles on how social media can be very positive to children and teens.  One of the articles discusses 5 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media.

  1. It strengthens friendships- Social media can allow children and teens to feel more outgoing and can help build their friendships stronger.
  2. It offers a sense of belonging– Social media can help students feel less lonely and are becoming “more socially adept.”
  3. It provides genuine support-  Children and teens have the opportunity to find acceptance through groups who share similar hobbies or have the same values in life.  It also gives children and teens “immediate access to quality support online.”
  4. It helps them express themselves– Children and teens get a chance to be creative through self-expression on social media.
  5. It lets them do good– Social media expose children and teens to important topics and events from all over the world.  “Kids realize they have a voice they didn’t have before and are doing everything from crowdfunding for people in need to anonymously Tweeting positive thoughts.”

In Angela Barnes and Christine Laird’s article The Effects of Social Media on Children discusses that social media “…is not just an avenue for socializing; kids and adolescents can be creative, interact, and learn.”  It also allows for peers to stay connected in and outside of school hours with others from similar interests and hobbies.  Social media can lead people to accept others and their differences.  It can even help students complete their homework and other class projects! Michael Sheehan also shares his opinions on 5 Reasons Why Social Media Might Actually be Good for Your Child.

  1. Keep up with friends
  2. Collaborate with schoolmates
  3. Discover new interests
  4. Get prepared for the future
  5. Get creative

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thumbs upThis week everyone in our class had very thoughtful and well planned blog posts.  In Lisa’s post This is Not a Box she had many great insights throughout her post.  Lisa discussed that “We need to encourage children to have a balanced childhood where they can enjoy playing outdoors with friends and improve their social skills, but also learn about and enjoy technology.”  Also thank you for sharing the article “Childhood Isn’t What it Used to Be” by Randi Zuckerberg! I thought it was very interesting!  Stephanie brought up a great point when she discussed a workshop that she attended by Rick Lavoie.  In her post she commented “that we need to recognize the childhood our students and children are experiencing is nothing like the childhood we experienced. He cautioned us to think about how we respond to students.” I agree that our environment has changed significantly and when I was in my teens social media was just beginning.  We can not compare our childhood because it is like comparing apples and steak.  Ashley’s post Does social media need a time out? was well written!  Ashley addressed many key points and I enjoyed reading her thoughts about how social media is “hurting the development of face to face communication skills in our youth and even adults.”  She talked about the importance of body language and how our tone of voice both play a vital role in the way we communicate.  However, when we use technology and type our responses body language and tone of voice becomes removed which can lead to some misunderstandings between people.  Ashely shared an interesting video called Text Tone Deaf and it showcases the misunderstandings that can occur.  I encourage you to check it out!

At the end of is technology making our kids unhealthy debate I was teetering between agree and disagree because both side brought forward valid points.  I came to the conclusion that by educating our children and youth I think we can help them find a balance.  Balance has been a word used often in people’s reflections during our EC&I830 debates and in their blog posts.  Where do I stand on this debate?  Is social media ruining childhood?  In the The Huffington Post article that I shared earlier in this post had a quote by Lucie Russell who is a Director of Media and Campaigns at YoungMinds.  I thought the quote sums up my thoughts nicely on this topic.  The quote stated:

“We need to realize young people are on social media and that’s here to stay, now it’s about giving them skills to manage their online lives.” 

I believe if children are not taught the skills, if they are not given the knowledge or are not having open conversations about self esteem, digital citizenship, cyberbullying/bullying, and the importance of living a healthy life style then social media could have the potential to ruin a child’s life if they do not have a support system.  I believe children need to know they can count on a trusted adult to turn to for advice and for support in their lives.  Sometimes students may even contact someone through using social media or use one of the many support groups that exist in the different online spaces.  I think if children and youth are educated about social media, know how to maintain a positive digital footprint, and have a support system that social media will not ruin their life.  In the CNN article and video that I mentioned earlier in my post discussed, “Kids whose parents were involved were less likely to get up set about social media.”  Parents, educators, and the entire community need to work and come together…

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The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media

 What messages are we sending our children and youth??

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This past week for class for my EC&I832 Media Literacy class we had the choice of a few videos to view for this weeks assignment.  A few weeks ago on television I watched a documentary along with my husband called Sext Up KIDS.  This documentary happened to be one of the choices for this weeks assignment.  During the documentary it discusses and “reveals how our hyper-sexualized culture has hijacked childhood and what parents and educators are doing to fight back.”  (*Warning: I encourage you to watch it alone without young children as this documentary is geared for a mature audience as it has profanity and highly sexualized images.) My husband Damon and I do not have children yet, but we hope to soon start a family.  This video led to a lot of good conversations about social media and rules that we would want to see in our family in terms of cell phones, computers, tablets, etc. My heart dropped as I watched this video and I started to think about my nieces, nephews, younger cousins, and my students.  This documentary introduced me to a new acronym that I have never seen or heard before called KAGOY:

Kids

Are

Getting

Older

Younger

Our children and youth are exposed to so much media through television, music, movies, magazines, advertisements, Youtube, Internet, and all the different forms of social media.  In  this video it discussed sexualization and how outfits for young girls designed for the tween age group look more like outfits designed for older females.  Children are only young once and should not have to pressures to grow up faster because childhood seems to go by too fast already.  Toys have also become more sexualized as it discussed Barbie dolls, the Bratz dolls, and the Monster High Dolls.  The toy market is growing and more children are viewing advisements of the different products while they watching television or YouTube videos, playing games, or searching the Internet.  Later on in the documentary it went on to discuss young girls playing princess and how many girls grow up wanting to be one of the Disney Princesses.  I can remember playing princess with my friends and how I loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I never really thought and reflected on that form of play before.  A lady in the documentary commented how for many children that this is their one form of play that children take part in for a long time and how as they got older it went from wanting “to be the prettiest girl to being the sexiest girl.” During the documentary it talked about a workshop in British Columbia called iGirl empowerment.  It is great to hear that there are fabulous workshops and programs for students.  At our elementary school we have a program called girls circle that grade five and six students get to join.  They talk about a lot of important topics and some high school girls also attend as well.  The high school girls are positive mentors and role models for our students for the elementary students.  Our school is hoping to start a boys circle soon to allow for male students in our school to have a place for positive conversations and  to be able to interact with male high school mentors as well. 

Does your school or community have any programs or workshops that your students can take part in?

This documentary gave a powerful message how youth are not just consuming images online, but producing images now as well.  Taking photographs and videos is so easy now through using all the new technologies that have been invented.  When I was young pictures had to be first developed before we could even view them.  Now with a touch of a button photos and videos can be shared for the whole world to see if a person wanted to share them.  It is scary to hear that some youth are sending sexual pictures of themselves and how those pictures are being shared with others without their consent.  In the documentary the girls discussed how that one mistake of sharing their photo has led them to face peers and other people calling them names, being humiliated online and in person and being publicly shamed.  Have you lately critically looked at media lately?  There are a lot of music videos that showcases women in a very sexualized way by the clothes they are wearing, the style of dancing, or how they are interacting with others in the video.  Also sit back and listen to the lyrics in many of the popular songs.  A lot of those songs discuss drinking, drugs, sex, name calling, and many songs contain a lot of profanity.  A few weeks ago at our school dance I had many students who requested songs that I could not play in school because one or many of the reasons mentioned above.  During the documentary it discussed Miley Cyrus growing up and wanting to move away from being her Disney Hannah Montana image.  What are the pressures that our children and youth are going through growing up in the 21st century?  We need to make sure we teach our children and youth to be more critical than ever when viewing media and what it means to be in a healthy relationship.  Children and youth are exposed to more offensive websites, video games, videos, and pressures I believe than ever before.  A lot of youth now have mixed messages of what a person should do when trying to pursue a relationship and what a good boyfriend or girlfriend does when they are in a relationship.  Parents need to have conversations with children about what a healthy relationship looks like and begin to discuss pressures that they may in counter like sexting.  These kinds of conversations are never easy, but it will allow you know what message your child has heard.

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Ashley Murray also discussed the Sext Up KIDS documentary in her recent blog post.  In her post she shared an article by CBC that discussed and outlined information and issues involving sexting.  It is a newer term that may people probably have heard, but I wonder how much they know about the topic.  Do people know the laws involving sexting and sharing sexual images? I appreciated that Ashley shared her findings involving sexting laws in Canada.  I think it is important for parents to not only be educated about the laws, but youth as well.  I wonder how many youth understand that sharing sexual images of people who are young than eighteen is child pornography? 

I encourage you to watch another documentary about a young girl named Amanda Todd.  The Fifth Estate’s documentary was entitled The Sextortion of Amanda Todd and during the documentary it discusses Amanda’s life.  Amanda had a beautiful voice and often posted videos of her singing on YouTube using her webcam.  One day she made one mistake in front of her webcam that led to her being bullied at the schools she attended, online, and also being blackmailed online.  Now a days so many children and teenagers have access to webcams or other devices that can take photographs or videos just like Amanda and her story could happen to so many teenagers.  Throughout the documentary her parents were interviewed and shared Amanda’s story.  I will never forget Amanda Todd’s mother words when she said, “we are in a decade of technology that doesn’t go away.”  Nothing can be permanently deleted online so more than ever people need to be careful with what they share online using different devices, apps, and what they comment on all the different spaces as well.  Genna’s blog post entitled Amanda Todd: Was There Even MORE to the Story?  I Believe So… allowed me to look at this story through a different lens. I thought she made some excellent points about how the documentary did “lack of attention to her Attention Deficit Disorder and the magnitude of the impact this carries both offline and online.” I appreciated reading Genna’s post from her perceptive as a special education teacher and all of her thoughtful questions she presented at the end of her post.  One of the questions that Genna asked that stood out to me was:

  • “What can we do to support our more vulnerable children (those with disabilities and mental health conditions) to ensure they develop positive digital citizenship skills and feel confident about their online presence?

 A lot of people may remember watching Amanda’s video that she posted on YouTube that was published on September 7th, 2012 entitled My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm. In the video she shares her story by holding index cards that she wrote on with black marker.  Card by card she unveiled her thoughts, feelings, and what she enquired in her life.  Sadly on October 12th, 2012 Amanda committed suicide.  I had to quit reading the comments left because even after Amanda’s death many people felt it was necessary to post negative comments and public shame her.    After I watched Amanda’s video I noticed along the side another video called Teens React to Bullying (Amanda Todd).  This video filmed teens who are a variety of ages reactions to watching Amanda’s video and then share their thoughts of the video and about online bullying.  Listening to Amanda’s story confirms that parents and educators need to start talking and educating our youth.  Again they will not be easy conversations, but they need to happen!

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I also believe we need to also teach our students and children about self esteem and positive body image! 
Do you remember Dove’s Campaign that explored how women see themselves and how they see others? It was called Real Beauty Sketches You’re more beautiful than you think.

 

This video showcases how we are our own worst critique and how we often find so many flaws about our self that other people do not see.  This video highlights that we do not see our true beauty.  We need to begin to remove all of the labels and start spending time appreciating every part of us.  We need to start to love ourselves for who we are because we all are special and unique.  Media and technology makes is more difficult for youth, men, and women to have a positive body image when so many of the images in magazines, on billboards, and advertisements have been digitally enhanced.  Just take a look at the Dove Evolution With some images, all is not what it seems video.  It is a short yet powerful video showcasing how images can be transformed and edited so the person appears to look flawless.  Near the end of the video these words appear on the screen, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”  I could not agree more! I was excited to see that dove also did a campaign looking at the male version of real beauty. 

The pressures of having a perfect body is not just a problem for females, but for males as well.  Media portrays men to look a certain way and to have a certain type of build.  So many times people dream of looking like the people that they see in the media, but if take away the professional stylists or all the digital changes those people would not look the same.  How do we teach our students to think critically when viewing media?  How do we teach our children and students to have a positive body image?
Well it needs to begin with adults first.  Adults need to model having a healthy body image and self esteem to our children and youth.  Parents, teachers, coaches, etc. are role models and children are always watching.  They care what you think and will often model your behavior and what you say.  We need to be role models to our children instead of media as it can send negative messages.  We need people to start thinking more critically about what we say and how our words effect others positively and negatively.  As adults, especially parents need to model how to interact with all the different forms of media and model positive digital citizenship to their children.  For example, Always created a powerful video with an excellent message called #LikeAGirl.  The creators asked teenagers, women, and boys to “run like a girl” and “fight like a girl.”   Later the creators asked the young girls the same questions and the movements that the first group of participates looked a lot different compared to the young girls.  Have you heard people or media use “like a girl” statements before?   Parents need to remember A girl`s beauty confidence starts with you.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, educators, etc. are influencing children everyday.  This is another Dove video and this one focuses on mothers and their daughters. The creators compare the mothers and the daughters answers about their likes and dislikes in regards to their body.  The daughters shared many of the same likes and dislikes about their body as their mother.  Daughter’s look up to their mothers and the same goes for fathers and their sons.  Boys need to have role models showing self esteem and having a positive body image.  I think if this video was created for fathers and their sons that the results would be similar.

Lets send positive messages to children and begin to be role models for our children and youth!

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Last year during EC&I831 I wrote a post called Will You Be The One To Speak Out.  It discussed an episode of Glee that I watched that has the character Rachel contemplating on getting plastic surgery on her nose so it looks like her friend Quinn’s nose.  In that episode they sing I Feel Pretty/Unpretty.  The band TLC wrote the song Unpretty and it is also a very powerful music video.  As an educator I believe we need to be teaching our students starting at a young age to have positive body image and teach them to love themselves for being unique.  It needs to be ongoing and not just a lesson or a unit.  It needs to be a topic and a conversation that is ongoing for the whole year.  How do you as educator promote positive body image and self esteem in classroom and school

Will You Be The One To Speak Out??

On November 18th our #eci831 class had the pleasure of listening to Audrey Watters @audreywaters speak to our class.  I encourage you to check out Audrey’s blog.  She has many thought provoking posts! On the night that she spoke to our class I logged onto the class late because I had Student Led Conferences, but that weekend I was able to rewatch the class!  I am able to rewatch the class because Alec and Katia record each session on Black Board Collaborate.  Then send the link to everyone on our class EC&I831 Google Plus Community.  It is so wonderful to have that option!  That was the only class that I arrived late for and missed a bit, but often I would rewatch some of the classes because I forgot what someone said, needed a link, or needed a review of the material.  I am a visual learner so being able to play back to classes is amazing! I hope I have to opportunity again down the road to use Black Board Collaborate in other classes or webinars.  It was so nice not having to travel two hours to Regina, have class, and then travel another two hours back home.

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Now getting back to what Audrey shared to our class…she talked about Gender Equity and Edtech.  During her presentation she discussed #gamergate…I had no idea what that was.  I agreed with some fellow that I am oblivious to that kind of stuff.  Have you heard of gamergate before?  My class talked a little bit in class about it in the session, but still did not have a clear picture.  So read about gamergate on Wipedia.  I could not imagine facing harassment online. Very heavy stuff!  Audrey told us that “the Internet can be a destructive place.”   She went on to say, “That’s an issue that has to be addressed in ed tech” and explained that it is an technology, education, social, and political issue. “We can’t ignore it!” I agree with Audrey hundred percent that the Internet can be destructive.  Like so many things there is the good about it, the bad about it, and then the just plain ugly.  I am very much (try to be) a positive person and try to see the glass half full.  Sure we all have our moments, but I try to surround myself with people who are also positive, supportive, and want to help me reach my goals.  In my social media accounts I try to add and keep people who are positive and weed out the negative people who are pulling my energy down.  I agree that we cannot ignore it, but it can be hard sometimes to speak up online depending on the space.  I try to avoid confrontation online because I also do not want it to affect my career or my digital identity.  When I see my friends post something on Facebook/Twitter that I do not agree with I do not write a comment under his/her post, but I have send a private message or a text to some people before.  Or even better you could have a conversation in person or over the phone!  I find when I read texts, e-mails, or words online it can be hard to tell the tone the writer is trying to portray.  I have many times misinterpreted the message that the writer was trying to get across, but it can be fixed if you have a conversation with the writer.

lens

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Audrey discussed gender and ed tech.  It made me think of my first master’s class when we discussed lens.  Everyone has their own lens based on their gender, ethnicity, where they live, family, etc.  She mentioned that there are more males then females working in ed. tech jobs.  On the chat is was brought up that many positions higher up in the company or job are male.  I have very proud to be a part of the Southeast Cornerstone School Division.  Our Director of Education, Superintendent of Education, and Superintendent of East Schools are all female teachers.  All of them fantastic role models to have in the upper level of our division.  We also have many female consultants and principals in our division.

I think teaching digital citizenship lessons and discuss student’s digital footprint is important to do in school.  Is that the answer? No, but at least it is a start!  We need to create and develop safe places!  If I can get my student’s to “THINK” before they post that would be an amazing start.  I think our blog is wonderful because it allows us to explore the Internet and share our thoughts in a positive way.  I also control the comments section of our blog.  I did change the settings to allow comments to go automatically for this blog. I do not feel comfortable having the same setting for my class blog.  I like being able to control if a comment gets added onto our classroom blog or not.

speak up

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Common Sense Media has some excellent resources on Digital Citizenship. In the chat on Black Board Collaborate Carmen Holota (@queeniecarmen) mentions that Media Smarts is a good resource.  (I encourage you to check out Carmen’s blog!)  I explored the website and I thought there was some useful resources and tools to help teach a variety of topics.   One of the links was called Gender Representation which made me remember of advertisement about girl image.  A lady asks different people show her “what does it looks like to ____ like a girl?”  It was very interesting to see how the different people represented the statement.  I really liked seeing how they changed how they represented the actions later on in the video.  I found an article discussing this advertisement and it also allows people to video the video.  What did you think after you watched the video? Do you know of other powerful videos that share an important message?

Another section in the Media Smarts website that caught my eye was Body Image under Media Issues.  I think a lot of media does not send a positive message about body image to our youth.  Body image does not affect females, but males as well.  Thinking about body image makes me think of an episode off Glee. (I enjoy watching Glee!)  The episode was called “Born This Way.”  In the episode Rachel hurts her nose and is deciding if she wants to get a nose job or not.  Leading their teacher to create an assignment about singing about their “flaws” and celebrating those differences.  In the episode they sing a song that still gives me goose bumps.  I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think of the song!

I am very lucky to have such a supportive and amazing parents, siblings, extended family, and friends.  I owe it to them that I have my positive body image that I do!  On April 7th, 1995 changed my life and my family’s life.  I was admitted into Weyburn hospital after going to the doctor because I was not feeling well and had a strange rash on my shoulder.  My doctor did some investigating and sent me to Regina to confirm her diagnosis.  Only being in Regina for maybe two hours I was then rushed to the University Hospital in Saskatoon to be seen my the infectious disease team.  My doctor was correct in her diagnosis and it was confirmed that I have Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh Eating Disease).  I went into surgery immediately to stop the infection from spreading.  After they were able to stop the disease from spreading. I then went through several skin graft surgeries.  I was very lucky that my doctor diagnosed me so fast and that I only was in the hospital for a month.  Now I have visible scarring on my chest, right shoulder, and down the right side of my back.  I think because I was only seven it helped me to have a positive body image compared to it was to have happened when I was a teenager or in my early twenties.  Now I am twenty-seven years old and have had my scar for twenty years of my life.  It is a part of my “body footprint” and it shares my story.  I will not hide who I am…I am lucky that I was able to beat the disease and live a healthy and happy life afterwards.  I think it is important to teach students about self-esteem and having a positive body image.  We need to fill everyone’s buckets and show them that they are beautiful just the way they are!  It makes me think of another great song!  Can you tell I like music!  Do you know of any other songs with a powerful message?

So what does this mean?

I agree with Kelly that he mentioned on the chat that we need to keep encouraging and supporting science and technology options and opportunities to our female students.  Hour of Code was also mentioned in the chat.  I am hoping to have my students do the Hour of Code with their learning buddies!  I think it is an excellent idea to do with your students!  As I mentioned earlier we need to continue to teach our students about Digital Citizenship and promoting healthy living.  Not just exercising, eating healthy, and our physical health.  But, we need to also take care of our emotional and mental health as well.

What do you think we should be teaching our students in the topic of gender and EdTech?