For the past 30 days YALSA bloggers have posted ideas about how social networking can be used by teens in positive ways. The postings connected specific tools with youth development and learning. The postings included real ways that libraries and schools are integrating social networking technologies into their programs and services. The postings were a way to help librarians, their colleagues, and their communities understand that social networking isn’t automatically bad.
Some of the highlights of the posts were ways that social networking can be used to:
- Empower teens
- Give teens the chance to meaningfully serve the community
- Support teen reading and writing/text-based literacy needs and skills
- Give teens opportunities to create and collaborate
- Make sure teens are able to plan and manage projects
- Communicate with community members
- Provide teens with opportunities to choose how to be smart and safe when using technology.
The 30 days of positive social networking was one way librarians responded to the possibility of the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) being passed in the Senate. (After being passed by the House in July of this year.) While it now looks like DOPA will not be voted on this year, and will die by the end of 2006, it remains important for librarians and others working and advocating for (and with) teens to continue to educate members of their communities about the real aspects of technology in teen lives. It’s important not to automatically buy into the hype. It’s also important to learn about and try the technologies in order to understand exactly what they do and do not do.
The full selection of postings on positive uses of social networking will be available soon in .pdf format.