I spent a delightful weekend offline the past two days at the Mo-Ranch Conference Center near Hunt, Texas. I really enjoyed the men’s conference, and had an opportunity to share a presentation on Internet Safety and Social Networking with a different audience than “normal” for me on Saturday. Most of the attendees were retired grandparents. The most surprising as well as sad thing I learned from my workshop participants was that my warning for young girls to NEVER allow anyone to take a photograph of them without clothes on (because, as the Ad Council video “Think Before You Post” illustrates, there is no way to control or limit distribution of a digital image) was shared too late for the granddaughter of one of the attendees. Not realizing the images could and likely would be shared with people all over her school community, the girl and one of her friends had recently agreed to let a boyfriend take some compromising photos of them. It was difficult to have to tell the girl’s grandfather this weekend there is really no way to completely “take back” or destroy digital images which have been widely published online and distributed via cell phone multimedia messaging to others. :-(

One of my workshop participants also told me about last week’s hoopla (which continues) over Miley Cyrus’s recent racey photo shoot. Hopefully this incident will have a positive outcome, if more young people discuss the dangers and undesirability of having compromising digital photos of themselves circulated around a local or global digital audience.

My session at the men’s conference was entitled “Internet Safety and Digital Dialog.” Both these incidents highlight the continuing need we have for “digital dialog,” which I define as open and regular communication between parents and children (as well as with others) about issues related to digital media and communication technologies.

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  • http://msmichetti.edublogs.org Adrienne

    What a sad story. Unfortunately I guess there have to be a few casualties along the road to learning hard lessons like these in a new environment, new community, with new technologies. I tried to access the Ad Council video you linked to above, but YouTube gives me the red bar stating: “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.” I could not find it posted in their channel, either.

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