Sunday, December 03, 2006

Police tap social networks!

Social networking web sites a frequent source of tips for school resource officers!

Once upon a time, school resource officers didn’t exist, but currently resource officers can be found wandering the halls of most K12 campuses wearing their police uniforms complete with a repertoire of tools (e.g. pepper spray, stun gun, handgun, handcuffs, knight stick, and radio). Additionally, resource officers seem to have recently added another item to their repertoire of tools, the Internet. Resource officers are now using popular social networking sites like FaceBook, MySpace, and Xanga to help thwart student related crimes. To learn more check out the article entitled “Police tap student sites to fight crime” at eSchool News.

Being pro technology, I am not against the above sites. As a matter of fact, I just joined one of the sites to see what all the hypes about. Maybe, I’ll write about that in the future. Anyway, initially these social networking sites were set up with the best of intentions. FaceBook for example was started at Harvard to help students create social networks, and it worked. Soon college students all over the U.S were using FaceBook to communicate and stay in touch. Nevertheless, like all good things, individuals started to post pictures that were inappropriate and turned a good tool into a bad one. As a result, most K12 schools block these sites because of they’re inappropriate content. This is unfortunate, but IT directors, administrators, and teachers have an obligation to protect students.

Fortunately or unfortunately, most students have these sites set up at home. If the students are using these sites carefully with tact, then they can be great learning tools. However, often students are not using these sites appropriately or tactfully. What types of negative actives can you find on FaceBook? Often there are pictures of under age drinking, drug use, and vandalism. Additionally, libel cases have been filed in some areas due to cyber bullying. Hence, parents need to check on and stay abreast of their children’s online activities on a weekly basis…
William Bishop


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