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.
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.
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. 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.