by: Danah Boyd
While the Attorneys General are off demonizing social network sites, the National Schools Board Association has been collecting data on all of the good things that teenagers are doing with the sites, including learning about colleges, talking about homework, engaging in collaborative projects, and otherwise operating as active learners.
To combat the myths generated by mass hysteria, they highlight that only .08% (note the point, this is less than 1%) of students have met someone in person through an online interaction without their parents' permission. In short, they argue that not only is the Internet not nearly as dangerous as the public seems to believe, but it's actually quite helpful for students and teachers should be encouraged to support their students in using it. They offer recommendations for how schools should directly engage with these sites and the practices of their students.
YAY! Go National School Boards Association! Thank you thank you thank you for not perpetuating the culture of fear. Please make the elected fearmongers hear you!
I strongly encourage everyone who holds power over teens - parents, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement, youth ministers, press, and politicians - to read this report. I've been saying these things for years, but they are more authoritative and, besides, they have numbers and people like numbers. My only qualm is that they don't do a good job of talking about how important it is to socialize youth into a society where these publics have different structural issues, but still... everything they do offer is a step in the right direction. Yay!
(Tx to everyone who sent me this!)