Surviving and Thriving Online – 2011

Today I had the pleasure of addressing the class of 2015 at St. John’s College High School.  The main message was around using the Internet to put your best foot forward, even while other data is growing around you.  There are so many ways for students to use the Internet to start building a strong online persona.

The presentation is hosted at and the links used are on my Diigo list.  Feel free to use the presentation which is Creative Commons licensed.

Creative Commons License
Surviving & Thriving Online 2011 by Pat Sine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Owning Your Life

I’m just back from a visit to St. John’s College High School in Washington, DC. This is the second year I’ve done a talk to their 9th graders. When we specced the talk originally, it was another of the talks I’ve given about “internet safety.” Happily, the faculty and administration were glad to have the talk take another turn. This year and last I’ve been able to talk openly with the students about the real threat to them on the Internet: themselves.

In the course of the talk, I shared a couple of videos:

I also collected the sites I mentioned on a Diigo list.


Beyond Second Life

Last night I spoke to a parents’ group about Social Networking and balancing the opportunities and dangers on the Internet for kids of varying ages. By the end, we started to get to the fact that we really are at the very beginning of all of this when we look at things like Club Penguin or MySpace.

Today, I came across this slide show from Cory Ondrejka. Mr. Ondrejka offered this as the final session of a faculty seminar at the Annenberg School at USC, part of the Charles Annenberg Weingarten Program on Online Communities (APOC). Mr. Ondrejka was the CTO of Linden Labs and a leading architect of Second Life so he’s got an important and well-informed viewpoint on all of this.

And in my continuing Twitter story….I came across this via a tweet from gsiemens directing me to a blog post from Brett Bixler with this slide show embedded.

This is the kind of thing the I hope I got across to parents as we think about what social networking will mean in kids’ lives.

Blogs, Wikis and Safety?

Just finished reading an interesting blog post from Wes Fryer of Oklahoma entitled Blogs, Wikis, District Polices, Walled Gardens and the Open Web. Wes talks about how his belief in and ongoing support of students and teachers operating in the Open Web.

The starting point for the conversation is a video from gfrancomtube entitled District Policies Regarding Blogs and Wikis This is a mashup of a 1960’s video of a father and son discussing drugs, with a mix of the original audio and some new audio from grancomtube discussing district policies that keep students safe from predators on the web by keeping their wiki and blog usage in some protected space. (Unfortunately, if you look at this from your school, you may very well just see a black square since the video is only available on YouTube.)

Contrast this with the article “Online ‘Predators’ and Their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment” from the Feb-March 2008 issue of the American Psychologist. This article reviews just who the predators are, what behavior is most likely to put kids at risk, and just what risks really exist. Turns out it’s not what we’ve all been taught for the past several years. The article is fascinating in both its extent and citations, but it boils down to some things we should have known from the start. 1) Kids who engage in risky behavior (chatting with strangers, posting suggestive pictures, etc.) are at risk. 2) Kids who hang out in risky places (unmoderated chatrooms, private chats with unknown individuals, etc.) There is no evidence that blogs or wikis are dangerous, including MySpace.

While I’ve grossly oversimplified the article, both of these resources (the YouTube video and the article) make great starting points for formulating realistic approaches that protect kids and enable kids to prepare them for their lives in the 21st Century.