Social Networking for Elementary Students: Edmodo

by | Dec 20, 2011 | Parenting/Family, Social Media & Tech | 4 comments

About a year ago I created a video for iVillage about kids and social networking.

While doing my research for that piece, I developed the belief that before children get into social networking… I feel it is best they are exposed to opportunites in social spaces specifically crafted for children. Of course, these sites need to be monitored and must adhere to the terms as laid out in COPPA. A “practice” space, if you will.

There are 2 reasons why I hold such convictions:

  1. Someone said to me recently, “Not all people online are pedophiles, but all pedophiles are online.”
  2. Even adults have a hard time navigating and understanding the unique style of communication that comes in the written form. The lack of maturity in children pumped up with blossoming hormones can create a cocktail of drama.

Re: point 1 – Children need to be taught about the dangers online… The tactics of pedophiles… In Facebook, we add “friends”, but as adults we all know there is a difference between our friends and a “Facebook friend.” The term “friend”, automatically  cracks open the door to a potentially dangerous unknown for children yet with lots of room to mature. Children allowed into social spaces too young are at increased risk. They just are.

Re: point 2 – Then there’s communication among peers. Having a moderated, secure space helps children learn the social rules for communication in the written space. It’s hard enough for adults to have successful and clear email or Facebook wall conversations. Children and pre-teens do not have maturity on their side to help balance perspective or know to step away and cool down.

My daughter’s 4th grade class has been using a site called Edmodo this year. It looks like Facebook, but it is created for classroom use. The teacher moderates the space, and students know the site is to be used for classroom/educational topics and discussion.

For information on other child-safe social sites check out Mashable’s post on 5 Safe Social Networks for Kids… The article is about a year old, but it’s a great place to start looking!

What are your thoughts? Do you have elementary kids that are using similar tools in their classroom? How do you feel about incorporating social networking into schools?

using technology as a family


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