Have you read about The Red Balloon school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where a schoolteacher set her students a task to drive home to her students that good grammar still matters, even in a world dominated by social media communication?
Andrea Baena asked the children to find their favourite celebrities on Twitter and look for spelling or grammar mistakes, in their tweets. When they found the errors, students read the tweets to their classmates and described what needed correcting. Their advice was then tweeted to the stars themselves, from a school-owned Twitter feed.
Here's just one example:
Andrea Baena has just unwittingly provided the entire world with the names, ages, photo identification and details of the school that these young children attend…
Ok, so some are rolling their eyes at me about now. But think about it – Would you be happy that absolutely everyone and anyone now had access to your child’s full name, age, precisely where he attends school and exactly what he looks like? I wouldn’t!
These children are young. Some are only 8 or 9 years old. I suppose the teacher thought she was doing the right thing, by using the schools Twitter account. But by doing so, as well as including the children’s more personal details, she has provided others with far too much information of underage children.
“In Australia, schools need written permission from parents to use children’s details and images on newsletters, let alone on Social Media.” Police officer Susan McLean (Susan has worked with the FBI and spent time at Facebook headquarters in America. She has also studied online behaviour in both the UK and the US.)
On Friday, I spoke at the Generation Next seminars in New Zealand and it was the third time I heard one of my colleagues, Det. Sgt. Stuart Butler, present. He is part of the Task Force Argos team, a highly specialised branch of the Police Service, responsible for the investigation of on-line child exploitation and abuse.
Stuart’s presentation is something I wish that every single parent would see. Not to develop mass hysteria about pedophile panic, but to be aware of the darker side of the net. Stuart is not anti-technology. He is pro-the-safe-use of technology, because he knows the risks and the risks have faces.