Social Learning in an Online World

This week we looked at Albert Bandura’s classic work on social learning theory showing us that we observe and mimic what we see.

Knowing that our children are spending more and more time online and in networked publics I believe it is important to understand behaviours that are considered acceptable in these places as they will influence what our youth (and we, ourselves) accept as ‘normal’. Are behaviours in these online spaces the same as what can be expected in offline spaces?

I have also been looking at fringe media over the last couple of weeks and that led me to look at a site called Chatroulette where people are randomly paired up in video chats. I came across a site that shared humorous screenshots of conversations from this site, such as the ones below.

Chatroulette 1

Chatroulette 2

What struck me in looking at the 21 examples shown was that there were 3 that requested to see boobs. When we consider social learning and the fact that our youth are spending more and more time in these spaces, I think it is so important that we are creating responsible digital citizens so that requests like this aren’t the norm online when they wouldn’t be offline. Exposure to these questions routinely will convince young boys and girls that this is an acceptable question/demand.

Chatroulette 3

Don’t think that I am being alarmist and a digital dodger in saying this. What I think is important is that we prepare our students properly to be good online citizens instead of expecting them to learn it just because they are in online worlds. Ā Education in digital citizenship is essential for youth developing their moral compass at the same time they are exposed to far more than we were as youth.




2 thoughts on “Social Learning in an Online World

  1. It’s definitely interesting to think about behaviours that are now “normal” and whether they are okay or not. The “show me your tits” thing, though, has a history that I don’t think we should forget. There is the tradition of <a href=""Mardi Gras beads. It’s apparently a bit of a spring break thing if the number of videos and tv shows talking about it are any sign. Women’s bodies are viewed as currency in our society. Boobs are everywhere, as long as they are sexualized. Breast feeding is not okay but showing a whole lot of breast in a lingerie ad or perfume or car or even oil rigs. So it isn’t that the “show me your tits” demand is new for social media. Honestly, I knew a woman in my undergrad who showed her breasts at a bar for a free pitcher of beer. I think maybe social media just emphasizes aspects of our culture, good and bad. So we get amazing things like the participatory culture that Jenkins talks about. But we also get the emphasis of rape culture. So I completely agree that we need to do something to make the behaviour we define as unacceptable not normal, I just think we need to talk bigger and remember that there is only one society and what we see online is connected to everything else.


  2. Pingback: The Internet Is not the Answer… or Is It? | Kirsten J Hansen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s