Sunday, May 27, 2007

Children, blogging and safety.

Karen Mann at Web2Wanderings has a post regarding issues of internet safety when it comes to young children. (Lets say K-6)

My understanding is that blogs can be moderated if set up that way and therefore before any item is published the teacher could have the final approval. I guess I will have to follow up on this under the NSW system. If you have come across similar restrictions, please let me know.

Its a tough one Karen. I have had a students' blog blocked by my organisation.
I complained, (well actually I requested an unblock), and I got a sympathetic hearing by a well informed senior administrator, (yes...they do exist), and the blog was unblocked very shortly afterwards.

I did have to make some modifications though.
  1. Parents need to be aware of their child's participation (publication).
  2. No child is to be identified. We limit names to first names only. Though it has been suggested that we may need to consider using only initials. (Overkill, or good sense?)
  3. All comments are to be moderated.
Pretty easy to do, and very sensible when you consider the unsettling implications of some alternate scenarios.


Jane Nicholls said...

This is a tricky one, we have been talking about how we use student names on our blog lately. We currently use first names only but a friend of mine teaching in the US told me that they have gone as far as having their students creating fake names (pseudonyms) for use on blogs. As you say, is this good sense? Or overkill?

Personally I think it is overkill, Newspapers never ask permission before publishing photos of kids at school with their full names, why is this? I think I would go with the pseudonyms over the initials though, because you could have fun with it. Kids could create themselves a logo and image to go with the name and provide an explanation why that name suits them... mmm... sounds like a fun unit to teach.

Mark said...

Thats a great idea Jane! Pseudonyms!

Could do alot with that, kind of like an avatar creation workshop.

Thanks for dropping by.

Rachel Boyd said...

Whatever we do with regards to online publishing is going to be dependent on the school we teach at and the parent/caregiver community associated with it.

Currently, I am fortunate to work with a very sensible bunch... we are allowe first names and photos etc. All children have agreements signed by their parents agreeing to this.

I have to agree with Jane about the newspapers, they never ask permission, and for that matter they never do for tv either. Last week I saw a feature on tv where a person clearly stated (in a angry voice) that they'd better not air this on tv... a very clear instruction... and guess what! The tv aired it!!

We have tried to keep our community informed and educated about the risks and importantly the benefits, rather than scaring them with only the risks.

Also, our kids jointly decide on rules for blogging so this helps to keep kids safe with regards to giving away last names and addreses etc.

I think you should do whatever your community is happy with after you've informed them enough. Gotta make it work someway, whether it be with pseudonyms, real names or even no images of chilldren.