Scary, Scary Internet

I teach five-year-olds, 22 of them, every day.  (22 is SO MANY five-year-olds). At the beginning of the year, we start with the very basics. We go over how to listen at our tables. We go over how to show that you are listening on the carpet. We go over how to ask to join someone at play time. We essentially start from scratch and build knowledge so that, after not that long, I hardly need to remind them other than “Wow, look at how nice so-and-so is listening to Madame.” It’s an amazing thing.

My Kinders listening to a story
My Kinders listening to a story

Kids who join in after that initial “starting from scratch” are also quick to pick up the cues. I usually have around three kids join my classroom after September.  It helps that the rest of the class knows our routines and are excellent at helping others.

This happens in so many classrooms. It’s what we were taught in our Education classes.  Routines and procedures first, awesome and amazing things next! (You should see my centre time with 22 five-year-olds. It’s incredible).

Centre time!
Centre time!

What I’m getting at here, is that as teachers we start at the beginning – wherever our kids are at when we get them.  We start at the beginning and build to get them further.  This is true for how we want kids to walk down the hall or how we want them to put their hand up.

So why is this any different with the internet? This week’s (and last week’s) recommended and required articles and videos had me asking that question.  (One of the articles had the best quote:  Yik Yak under attack in Chilliwack). Is it any different than starting with the basics wherever our learners are at and then building with them how to use the internet or apps in our classrooms?

If, indeed, it is similar to how we teach students to follow routines, then why are there still so many scary articles? Are we not teaching these things and instead outright banning them?

As an aside, on the banning front, it’s not working well. Banning useful tools is super frustrating. This past week I was trying to save a YouTube clip so that I could share it later (the upstairs wing of my school is notoriously bad for internet connection) and I couldn’t! The sites that I use at home, to save YouTube clips were all restricted at my school and I had to hope and pray that the internet would work later instead of having the sure thing ready to go.

I guess I am just starting out in my Edtech journey, but it already is very frustrating to hear negative stories about the very scary internet and apps that are out there.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
H.P. Lovecraft

I think that we need to teach students how to use it, properly. Banning and worrying and wringing our hands won’t stop the new, cool things from being invented or liked by our students. If we are proactive and teach them how to go about navigating the scary, scary internet, maybe it won’t be so scary?



4 thoughts on “Scary, Scary Internet

  1. Sarah Wandy

    I agree that fear motivates so many of parents’ and teachers’ decisions about using social media. We need to focus on teaching digital citizenship instead.


  2. I appreciate this. I appreciate this in so many ways. I appreciate this because we, as human beings, are programmed through our perfectly messed-up society to blame others, blame ideologies, and blame the rest of the world around us. We blame 4chan for being “scary” when the reality is that these websites are actually magnifying the darkest parts of our humanity- something that needs to be questioned, analyzed, and rethought about. Perhaps then, it won’t be scary. Did I mention that I appreciate this?


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