ORANGE CONFERENCE 2015

SOCIAL MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL (NOTES)

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The Justice Movement @thejustmove

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Since this is a seminar on social media and middle school, I figured there’s really no better way to begin than by telling you a little about myself via tweet length bits I could write and not be lying. (Real quick, make sure your neighbor knows what a hashtag is. Go!)

Tweets I’d write about me:

I’m a girl. #Obvious

Jesus loves me. #Incredible

I’m married. #CoyWins

I have two kids. #SleepDeprived

I became a pastor instead of something else. #Goals

I miss falling asleep reading a book. #WHOhasTIME

I wish my phone wasn’t always in my hands. #Arrested

Teenagers are my favorite. #PeopleQuestionMyMentalHealth

This is their time. #TakingThemBack #Goonies

It’s also Kristen Wiig’s time. #TaughtHerEverything

Lecrae wins all of the stuff. #ALL_I_EVER_Needed_in_A_Rapper

Every time I see the color Orange, I see you and me, and what we get to be. #WhatDoYouSee

Interact on Instagram. @brooklynlindsey

Answer the question: When you see the color orange, what do you see?

Last week, your students were using Instagram Twitter & Vine. But how are they communicating now? What will they be doing next week? How can you keep them out of trouble as they navigate the wilds of the Internet? Discover what social media platforms and apps your middle schoolers are using and the best ways to guide and connect with them via social media. Learn how to help parents do the same.

FLOATIES IN THE OCEAN

Our little friend Truman is five. He knows how to swim. I know this information because my friend Carlee taught him how to swim, in an official class. But some time had passed between his safe swimming pool environment and his next trip to the beach. This is why his wise mom went ahead and put floaties on Truman to keep him safe in this new environment. Truman can swim, but it may not be safe to throw him in the ocean without a bit of help at first. So, one floatie at a time, his momma is going to take away the extra help and encourage him to trust his instincts, check in with her, swim parallel with the shore if you feel the pull of a current. All of these things you learn with experience over time. It doesn’t mean you keep Truman out of the ocean, it just means you have to walk with him through the phases of his experience and teach him life changing lessons along the way.

It’s the same with middle school kids and technology. This is their language. Technology is the ocean they will be swimming in whether we like it or not. So it’s better to have a strategy for helping them to stay safe while they’re discovering how to make choices, communicate, relate, and interact online.

Facebook is no longer where they live. There’s an ocean of tech and social media and it’s our job to be the floaties during this developmental phase. Little by little they will need our guidance less, but at first we’ve got to have a plan when they do what teens do best….diversifying their apps.

Apps are a middle schoolers opportunity to meet new friends, share ideas, create, develop, chat, interact, and discover new skills and passions.

We could write a seminar about what’s hot in social media right now but we’d have to burn these pages today because they’ve already moved on to something else.

That’s why this statement is true:

“It’s NICE to know what’s trending but it’s BETTER to know the basics.”

Know the BASICS

Teach the BASICS

Coach in LEVELS

Cheer their PROGRESS

My eight year old walked through a tech door that we thought we had locked.

My five and eight year old loved my dubsmash videos and wanted to make some of their own.

Both instances gave me opportunities to learn the basics, teach the basics, coach them at their level, and cheer for them as they were given age appropriate freedoms.

What are the basics?

B        Be curious. The world’s most curious question: What is it?

A        Ask why. Why is it popular? Why do they love it?

S        Sort out the challenges. What are the drawbacks? Dangers? Age considerations?

I         Insist on being an ally. You’re on your their team.

C        Call somebody before you blame somebody. *

S        Start social media accounts together. Be a part of the process. Talk often. Teach. Set up rules together. **

*(PRIVACY// Youth group: post with permission. Family: post after discussion.)

**(You will see something shocking or disturbing someday but in the minutes after you see/ find/ notice/ are told about something like this get some head space before you go ninja on their device or call a meeting with their parents. The kid may be enjoying the function but may not know the potential harm. They may know the harm but don’t know how to navigate around it. Get your head game together before you coach, once you have a healthy/ loving plan, then go for it.)

Now that you know the basics, you can apply these things to tech and apps that come along.

App Basics

Texting

Kik Messenger

What is it? It’s an app that lets kids text for free.

Drawbacks:

  • Ads & in-app-purchases. Kik specializes in “promoted chats”
  • Strangers App called OinkText, linked to Kik: allows chats w/ strangers who share theKik usernames to talk to new people.

ooVoo

What is it? Free video, voice calls, and messaging. Group chat is possible with up to 12 people for free. After school logins are popular, group studying (always, right?), connects friends who change schools or move to a new city.

Drawbacks:

  • Kids can only chat with approved friends.
  • Squirrel! (It can be distracting.)

WhatsApp

What is it? An app that send texts, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits or fees. (International)

Drawbacks?

  • 16 and over.Minimum has been set by WhatsApp
  • Overly connected. WhatsApp automatically connects kids to others. It also encourages users to add friends who haven’t signed up yet.

Micro-blogging

DubSmash

What is it? A mobile app to create short selfie videos dubbed with famous sounds.

Drawbacks:

  • 16 and over
  • It’s so much fun we forget. Videos shared live forever. Not everything is nice. Time doesn’t stand still. (time sucker)

Instagram

What is it? An app that can snap, edit, and share photos and 15-second videos, either publicly or with in a private network. It unites popular features of social media: sharing, seeing, & commenting. Re-posting.

Drawbacks:

  • “Likes” Middle schoolers may measure their self worth or value by the number of likes or comments they receive.
  • Hashtags & location information can expose kids
  • Instagram Direct allows users to send “private messages” to up to 15 mutual friends. These pictures don’t show up on their public feeds.

Twitter

What is it? An app that can post brief, 140-character messages ( “tweets” ) and follow other users’ activities.

Drawbacks:

  • Public tweets are the normfor teens. Talk to kids about how what they post can spread and live beyond the tweet.
  • That video you can’t UNSEE.
  • No sarcasm filter.

Tumblr

What is it? It’s a “Blitter” ! Or, a cross between a blog and twitter: It’s a streaming scrapbook of text, photos, and/or videos and audio clips. Teens have tumblelogs for personal use sharing thougths, videos, daydreams, photos, etc.

  • Porn patrol.
  • Privacy is awkward. It takes effort.

Secret apps (self destructing)

A troll or a tour guide? Which one do you want to be?

Secret

What is it? It’s an app designed to let people say what’s on their minds anonymously. Vent, confess, and share freely — without anyone knowing who said what. Banned in many schools because of bullying occurrences and capabilities.

Drawbacks:

  • It tries to prevent users from defaming others.Sends warnings when names are used.
  • Email & Phone number required.
  • Strong language. Most words that start with the letter F.

Whisper

What is it? It’s a type of confessional that allows users to post THOUGHTS with AN IMAGE. Freedom to share without fear of being judged or shamed.

Drawbacks:

  • Whispers are often sexual.Near nude. Lot’s of that.
  • You’re not going to find a ton of puppy dogs and ice cream posts. You mind more thoughts on insecurity, depression, substance abuse, and lies told to others.

Snapchat

What is it? It’s a “self-destructing” app if you live in a fairytale. Users can put a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear. Teens love this app. It’s a nicer option to share photos with friends and family you trust.

Drawbacks:

  • Snaps don’t disappear forever.
  • Snap sexting

Rapchat (same as snap chat but it dubs your voice to beats)

Yik Yak

What is it? Free app that lets users post brief, Twitter-like comments to the 500 geographically nearest Yik Yak users. Find out opinions, secrets, rumors….it’s a hot mess. The bonus thrill/ nightmare: knowing all these have come from a 1.5-mile radius (or from the kid sitting behind you)

Drawbacks:

  • Reveals location.You have to turn location sharing off.
  • It’s the deeper parts of the ocean. More than floaties may be needed. Stuff swimming in it: cyberbullying, explicit sexual content, unintended location-sharing, and exposure to explicit information about drugs and alcohol.
  • Banned in some places. Can be toxic. Harmful. Promotes Bullying.
  • Sponsored by the letter “F” and other choice consonants. @#$%# All day, every day.

Social Media For the 6th Grade Phase*

*with a little help from my friend

@JonAcuff knows some stuff about social media and he has an 11 year old. #streetcred

  • Call somebody before you ninja somebody. You will find something weird, crazy, shocking.
  • Go over the phone bill. Teach them life skills while you go over the bill together.
  • Make freedom the goal (Jon says, “Don’t make privacy and freedom something you’re taking away from them, but rather something you’re working toward as a team. Tie their usage to maturity”.)
  • Have the talk. (Not “that talk”, the other talk, about technology. Talk technology, it’s their language.)
  • Create digital detachment at night. Set up house culture. Promote peace. (Phones away at 9. No devices in bed)

Social Media In The 7 & 8th Grade Phase

  • Share accounts. Netflix, iTunes, Amazon are a great way to practice decision-making and give incremental freedoms. Music Downloads Example: You want, I review, I purchase. You want, I trust you, I purchase, I listen. You want, you purchase, I trust you.)
  • Notice who they are online and invest in that person. You are watching your kid become something new. Follow their friends—engage their parents—get involved in their life online.
  • Start accounts together. Teach. Cheer. Consult.
  • Step up the stairs of maturity to privacy. Locked digital doors are for later. Teach them that nothing is really private with technology.
  • “Ask the jerk question” – @JonAcuff  You’re the one who can ask the questions about friends their still deciding on—“is someone bothering you online”? How did it make you feel when “x” made that comment?

Oh, and You Tube. Middle Schoolers need you to know and teach the basics about this endless stream.

300 hours of video are uploaded per minute.

81.9% of US 14-17 year olds watch you tube.

2014 Most Searched Topic: Music. 2nd Most Searched Topic: Minecraft.

Middle school people love music. Middle school people love minecraft. Middle school leaders should pay attention to YouTube.

Assignment: Make a list of really cool creation and innovation apps. Push kids toward apps and tech that turn up discovery and passion in their day.

Review:
Know the BASICS

Teach the BASICS

Coach in LEVELS

Cheer their PROGRESS

Helping a middle school kid navigate through social media and technology is just as important as teaching a baby to walk, a toddler to share, and a 16 year old how to drive safely.

Walk with them. Partner with their parents. Know and teach the basics. Avoid the hazards that sometimes come in learning something new by coaching them and cheering for them even when they mess up. Help them figure out who they are in a world full of conflicting information. Remind them that they are loved and created by God even when they feel unloved and ashamed by choices that they make.

If you love a middle schooler, you’ll get in the tech ocean with them and teach them how to swim.

 

Photo: ReThink Group

 

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