I was reading the other blogs about invites to Facebook and MySpace. I get people inviting me to join all the time but I just delete their emails. They don't have to know that I never join and I don't have to worry about hurting their feelings by declining. No one has ever said anything to me so I don't think it is a problem not to join.
I have gone the odd time and looked at MySpace accounts of students (not my students) to see what they say on there and these kids had a lot of swearing, the F word seems to be a favourite term these days. The profiles talked about their sex lives, their use of drugs and alchohol and the latest parties they attended and how drunk they were going to get the next weekend.
These kids were fourteen to sixteen and had invited me to join MySpace.
The question Dean talked about tonight was how do we handle that - if they are students in our classrooms? Are their private accounts private? Do we have a right to know what is on there? Would that be like reading a printed copy of someones personal diary?
My view is that I would advise them of the reasons why "I think" they should not post certain things on their site that may hinder them in future employment options and for other reasons. Employers are google searching names before the interview these days or searching YouTube for videos. I know when I need an employee for my equine photo work I will see what comes up under their name and I do not know much about doing a search. An employer such as SIAST would be able to do a thorough search on a potential employee.
But I still believe it is as private as a diary and that I do not have the right as a teacher to forbid students to post certain things - I think we need to give them the information and hope they follow through.
Of course I am talking about their own private time at home and not at school. At school I would not use MySpace or others - in my classroom for the above reasons. It's not my place to monitor it - so I would not use it.