Teaching Young People about the Web!

Dear Commons Community,

How young people use the Internet is a growing concern among educators.  Beyond the hate, pornographic, and get-rich quick material, there is a kind of excessive flaming and bullying that goes on using social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace that follows young people years after they posted something that as adults they would likely regret if someone else saw it.  In today’s NY Times, is an article about a curriculum called Common Sense that largely teaches young people how to behave online.     It raises issues such as name calling (e.g., “Amy is a slut) or posting entries for personal diaries online that can come back to haunt the individual.  While not necessarily the most serious issue facing educators, given the amount of time young people spend on the Web (as much as seven hours a day), Common Sense may be something that should be widely promoted.


The NY Times article is available at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/09/education/09cyberkids.html?th&emc=th


  1. I teach issues of cyber bullying in two of my classes. It is a very serious issue and most people are not aware of its frequency or effect. Insults and name calling that used to be confined to the playground and lunch room are now permanently recorded and indexed on the web on Myspace and Facebook. There has been so many unnecessary suicides of young people – and very little done to address this issue.

    I believe one method of responding to the growing issue of cyberbullying is to hold the parents of children who bully civilly and even criminally liable for the conduct of their children on the Internet. Similar laws have drastically reduced the number of “teen alcohol and drug parties” in states that have passed these parent/social host liability laws. Parents need to monitor what there kids are doing on the internet – this would give them more motive.