I had two different experiences with the 'youth' of today. First, last Tuesday I presented at Career Day for Meghan's middle school. I only presented to the 8th graders, but it was still fun. I did the usual 'what school I went to', 'what jobs I've had' and 'what does my day looks like' slides in the power point. I then showed them some things about the Internet in general and Facebook in particular.
I showed them my profile, a shared group about a teacher that I had an respected in High School who died this year. I also showed them a page by another student from the same high school that was trashing a different teacher. I talked about how I would give an interview to the student who setup the first group, but that I would go out of my way to make sure the student who setup the second one would never work for me or anyone I know. I think it sunk in with most of them that their actions are noticed by people, even ones that they have never met or ever expect to.
I also showed them a picture of my brother Pat that I had placed in my Facebook photos, but 'tagged' as him. It was showing up in his profile when you viewed it. I told the story of a kid who went on vacation for a week, but a 'friend' had posted embarrassing photos of him and tagged them, so the whole world could see them in his profile. Since he wasn't around to remove them, lots of people saw them.
Finally, I showed them the 'way back machine' and a google search on my name that returned results from 1991. Spooked a few of the kids that all this information was available with a simple search. I had one girl give a big 'uh oh' when I told them that things on the Internet never go away.
Probably the best part was on Friday I received 3 letters from the students thanking me for my presentation and the cool, and scary, things I showed them about the Internet.
Then Monday of this week, I chaperoned Meghan's class to Fernbank, a museum in Atlanta. I was assigned 8 kids, 7 girls and one boy. And the boy didn't really know any of the girls. At first I felt sorry for him, then the drama started. Apparently he had just broken up with his 'girlfriend' and all her friends kept coming up to him to 'talk' and give him grief. Christ, what drama. I got sick of it so I took my group to another part of the museum away from everyone else. As we were walking away he mumbled 'thanks'. I told him 'just wait it gets worse'.
Other than the small dramas that are so typical of middle school, the trip was great.