Digital Safety……

Social Networking

The term social networking is discussed frequently within our learning of this unit. Why? It is a very important topic in the cyber world. The term itself appears innocent enough, however there can be so many potential dangers attached with social networking, as we have heard or seen in the media. Admittedly the media often exaggerates or inflates issues to benefit themselves, however we cannot become blasé regarding issues surrounding social networking, especially where children are involved. 

Speaking of the media, we know they are always highlighting the online dangers to children regarding predators, however research indicates most predators are known to their victims. Some may be ‘shocked’ by this research however, most of us know this is the case as the predator who is known to a victim usually has their ‘trust’ and more access to them than an unknown person would.

If we know this why does the media not highlight the fact? Because society does not always want to know the truth. Quite often abuse by a known person to the victim is not reported due to how it may affect that family financially, professionally, etc.

As future teachers part of our role is to ensure children are aware of both online and offline dangers and if we suspect our students are being abused in any way we need to find out what form of abuse they are being subjected to and whether it was in the cyber world or the real world and contact the relevant authorities immediately. 

We all, no matter who we are or what our age, have the right to feel safe all of the time, no matter what ‘world’ we are in. Children, and adults, need to understand that if predatory behaviour of any kind does happens  nothing is so awful that we can’t talk about it to someone.

We all know the dangers to children and the need to inform them of these, however the other side we were discussing in class is that children, particularly teenagers, seek out the ‘bad stuff’ on the internet that their parents ‘don’t want them to see’. Why? Because they are curious and, boys especially, have this massive hormone boost at a certain point during their adolescence. I am sure even children and adolescents  in past generations sort out anything that was forbidden by their elders. Curiosity is a natural part of the growing process and once you become a ‘legal’ adult the excitement of sneaking looks and being found out has gone.

Parents are concerned about the level of cyberporn their children may be exposed to while on the internet, however what about the TV shows they watch, or images in the media including advertising? What about the console games they are playing? Some of the images in the low rating ones are too gross for me and yet parents allow their children to play these games? What can hours of watching these do to children? I think parents need to look at the big picture and not just the internet and the possible exposure to pornography and predators, which according to research is not as bad as we are led to believe. The hours of playing games with the gross creatures or the violent killings would have a negative effect on their education as the children become numb to violence and they are very tired when in class.

We discussed the positive aspect of social networking as another tool to use in the classroom. Again, the benefits include networking teachers and students, students and students, schools with schools; improved communication skills; collaborative learning; further developing technology skills and enhancing traditional literacies. Therefore, if the students are taught how to use the internet safely and the school has the appropriate online safety procedures in place, there should be every reason for students to develop their knowledge and skills in Web 2.0 tools.    

Finally, the one point I found interesting from this week’s lecture was the term “weak ties” and how they can be of benefit. So does that mean the over 1000 ‘friends’ my son has on each of his various social network sites may be of value to him one day? Let’s wait and see. I will come back to you on that in a few years and let you know if he has been successful…………………………………….

PLE’s & e-portfolios

Personal Learning Environments (PLE’s) are an online environment where a person can include a collection of  applications to showcase their personal content. A PLE is individualised with the contributor adding to it as required. It can be seen as organising one’s learning as demonstrated in the video I have included below. This student owes credit to her teacher! 

Applying for a job in certain professions required a portfolio to be presented at the interview. The portfolio often contains items and documents demonstrating achievements and evidence learning. This may include educational certificates, professional conferences attended, references and artefacts such as art works or photographs. Now we are in the digital era these same items and more, such as personal reflections and the feedback from such, can be stored electronically with the advantage of easy access. A potential applicant for a job position can email the URL of their e-portfolio to a prospective employer anywhere in the world rather than having copies made of  the items in a traditional hard version portfolio and sending by post or courier. The e-portfolio has the added advantage over paper as the reader can click through pages by hyperlink or page headings much easier than sifting through paperwork to find the correct appendix.

An interesting article you may wish to read can be found at

I am now on time with my blogging posts so until next week, happy blogging and commenting to my fellow Out of this World Bloggers!



  1. Mark Said:

    That’s a really comprehensive overview of the topics we discussed this week. Your post has a nice sense of balance and I think, at the end of the day, that’s what this is all about. We need to be aware of both the benefits and the drawbacks, and to steer a middle course between them. Naturally, for teachers, that means helping kids to see the bigger picture, the good and the bad, and helping them begin to use online tools sensibly so they can make the most of the benefits while avoiding, hopefully, the worst drawbacks.

  2. Launched Said:

    Cindy – I think you are a bit harsh on yourself. I would prefer to have the time to reflect and write down as cogently as you do what you have learnt after each workshop. Whilst I might have all the bells and whistles I like to read your posts as you sum up very well what we have covered and it acts as a sort of revision for me. Thank you for that.

    I wrote the script myself. It was easy as I have got teenagers and that is how they speak. My children are trying to work out who I have based the scenario on and i seem to have covered about 80% of their Class.

    Who says Mums do not know what’s going on!

    Where do you get those great gifs from? Have you got a secret source. I think in the workshop tomorrow we will be lectured on sharing these sources! So you cannot keep it to yourself for much longer!! Ha Ha!

    I like your post



    • Purple Alien Said:

      Thanks for the support Helena.

      That’s right about mums, haven’t you heard the saying “mums know everything”……….

      I have acknowledged the cartoons on my blog. They come from, a social networking site I belong to. You can’t access the tags unless you are a member and members make the tags to share with each other.

      I also enjoy your posts, so keep up the style you have!

  3. Kristina Parker Said:

    Cindy, I really enjoyed watching your video posts this week. They were well selected and very informative. I particularly liked the video on PLE’s because it was produced by a student and gave some insight into what some students think of PLEs. Her quote, “it can be distracting, but with so much freedom, you’re more inclined to do work,” was interesting as for many students, I am sure the internet can be very distracting.

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