Social Networking Presentation for Parents

Last night I conducted my parent workshop on Teen Social Networking sites (like MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, and more.) The plan was to have a general PTO meeting for the first fifteen minutes, followed by twenty minute sessions on an assortment of topics including:

  • Social Networking & Teens (Mine)
  • Lexiles
  • How are We Doing? An informal roundtable discussion about school concerns
  • Reading Our School Report Cards
  • Life After Middle School

These were planned as a response to a survey on parent concerns and requests for more information. Upon arriving, parents “signed up” for three of the five sessions. After the parents arrived, all signed up for the session I was doing, and so my principal asked me to do an extended time with the large group, allow for questions and answers, and then the parents could go to one of their next session.

My session lasted 45 minutes, and focused on defining social networks, identifying positive and negative concerns with the sites, and showing a few examples of some of the more popular sites (screenshots since we do not have access to them at school.) I also explained that our school filters, or blocks these sites, and that we do not give instruction about these tools because the district has deemed then inappropriate for school. I explained that we as a school were aware though that many students (even those legally under age according to licensing by the sites standards) were using the tools, and therefore we were giving the session for that purpose. The presentation included tips and other information.

Murphy’s Law was at it for this presentation too, as my assigned location was the auditorium, which had speakers and sound system, mounted projector and electronic roll down screen, and plenty of good seating. I spent my afternoon before our parent workshops setting up the other teachers’ rooms for laptops, projectors, screens, and ensuring they had all their needs since all I needed was my laptop connected to the brand new state of the art auditorium connections. The evenings events were to begin at 5:30, so at 4:30 I went to take my laptop in to set up, only to discover the roll top for the power to everything was locked, and the ONE person with the key was gone for the day and unavailable. Of course you know I had to SCRAMBLE to get a projector, screen, speakers, and all ready. So at 5:15 I was soaking with sweat, but ready and frazzled. I need to remember to ALWAYS expect the unexpected.

The session went well, and I have decided to submit my presentation as a proposal to a couple of other conferences, including the South Carolina School Administrator’s Summer Leadership Institute, South Carolina’s EdTech Conference, and the South Carolina Association of School Librarian’s Annual Conference. I am also considering the Greenville (SC) Upstate Technology Conference. I feel that even though most schools block these tools, educators need to have familiarity with them, and be able to knowledgeably speak to parents as well. Even at my own school, the social networking sites bring issues into the building that guidance and administration have to deal with regularly, and more than likely classroom teachers too.

PowerPoint (on SlideShare)

The PowerPoint Discussion Guide (in Word)

Cyberbullying Video Talent Show (from YouTube)

Cyberbullying Video Kitchen (from YouTube)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/seOQyMvG99w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/QYaWNYXpBis" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]



4 Responses to “Social Networking Presentation for Parents”

  1.   diane Says:

    Cathy,

    Sounds like this was a slam bang presentation!

    I totally agree that the best way to protect our kids is to educate them. Isn’t that why Health classes and sex education is required in schools?

    How did the parents react to your message? What about your teachers and administrators?

    A lot to think about here – thanks.

    diane

  2.   technotuesday Says:

    Diane, the principal has asked if we can repeat this at our next parent workshop night, AND she wants me to give the same information in an upcoming staff development for teachers since some of our discipline problems are stemming from cyberbullying in MySpace. She wants more parents to hear it, and teachers to be knowledgeable about the issues that surround it. (I guess my perspective in a teacher meeting would be this is what know and I think parents should know too, and you as the teacher can tell the parents (via phone call) that don’t come to our parent meetings….)

    We are aslo talking about the next one taking a slightly differnet format–a panel of folks including me, the principal, a resource officer, a student, and a parent–I got this from another fellow SC LMS who asked about the workshop too and shared with my principal. So the next one would definitely have a different look and feel.

    We’ll see how it goes too.

  3.   Rob Darrow Says:

    Great slide show and simple, easy to understand suggestions for parents. Did they have time to ask questions? Were there any comments from parents or follow up conversations? Always interesting to find out how parents are handling social networking of their kids.

  4.   technotuesday Says:

    Rob, Hey Ron thanks for the compliment on my SN preso. I have some friends down in Charleston that knew about my preso too, and asked if they could use it, so I sent them the link for the slides too. Since it was mostly pictures, they asked if I would come and help present it, also asking what I thought would have improved my preso. Note mine was only supposed to be a 20 minute session, but the princ made an executive decision, an extended it to 45 minutes with total agreement for the attendees. So I reposted my information (see presentation materials) and sent them that link. I suggested they have a panel including a parent, student, a school resource officer, a principal, a guidance counselor and them. So they turned around and asked me to come do my prso, and then sit ona panel for grou round table discussion AND then q/a. We did have a few questions and answers, mostly about the age appropriateness, and how to tell if a friend really is a friend…During our q/a if I did not know I simply said as much. But we id have a few parents who seemed to be knowledgeable and chimed in here or there. We even had one of our teachers bring up that a student her own child knew had made a page for Tom Cruise JUST so the student could try to “friend” pretty girls. Creepy. I even had someone bring up the Megan Meier story too, but I cautioned that the story was not “typical” but that the SN sites were a topic that parents should have frank conversations about with their children, and that the pages should be monitored frequently. Thanks for asking.

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