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My kids are brilliant, and perhaps THE most important part of my Personal Learning Network (how else would I have learned Walk it Out and the Superman?) But today several of them really pushed my thinking (and entertained me) with their thoughts on why middle schoolers are so obsessed with MySpace.
Miletha brilliantly stated that MySpace really is their space. The only place in their adolescent world where they are truly in control. No parents telling them what they can and can’t say (despite what we may wish), no teachers disciplining them when their language isn’t ‘professional’, and perhaps the only location in their world where they can be (or act) ‘grown’.
 

This makes me wonder what we could be doing in the ‘real world’ to give them this same sense of ownership and maturity. How do we incorporate space and time in our classrooms where they are allowed to express themselves in similar ways? What if blogs, where they are allowed and encouraged to express their thoughts eloquently in their writing, could replace this other world where pictures and wall posts define who they are? I would love to hear other thoughts on how we give students this same feeling in other places, so they don’t feel this void that needs to be filled by MySpace.

Most entertaining perspective?

“It’s like Wal-Mart, cause you know everyone’s gonna be there.”

~Johnnie I.

 

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81 Comments

  1. I agree with what your kids told you, i’m already 20 years old and I have been using myspace for about 5 years,, It has been like a diary and counselor for my deep ideas about everything… But it does not necessarily mean that my world revolves around it. It just served as a big help for me to express my feelings that i cannot express in the real world.;p

  2. This is an interesting thought… I appreciate your feedback, and it makes me wonder what we, as teachers and parents, can do to make them feel more comfortable having those conversations, and expressing those ideas in the real world. I fear if those thoughts are only expressed in MySpace world, then who is giving them advice? Are they getting productive feedback to those feelings, or are they just throwing them out there for everyone to read? I would love to know how to provide that support in our schools and homes so MySpace doesn’t become the only place they feel comfortable.

    • javontae2012bradley
    • Posted April 24, 2008 at 1:03 pm
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    I agree to what you are saying and I would like to say that MySpace is a place where we can be grown but I don’t think it is being grown I think it is just away for us to go somewhere and be free from our child hood and just be able to relax and be comfortable.
    When adults go up there they are not being grown because they are already grown but, because MySpace is a type of fad once something else comes out everybody will stop and you will do what everybody else do and stop. As a person with MySpace once everybody stop I will too. 

  3. I think that your student Miletha actually made a great statement. Because a lot of middle school students once they get home they go straight to myspace.com and start to talk to other people. And myspace.com is like Wal-mart because everyone is there and you can talk to everyone. To go back to the first comment, they said myspace was like a counselor and they can get advice. For some people like the 20 year old (not all) they don’t want everyone to know there business. And how can you give advice on how to express yourself on Myspace?

    • Jheri Keona and William H.
    • Posted April 24, 2008 at 1:05 pm
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    I understand where you are coming from with the idea that MySpace is a place where kids can act or be ‘grown’. So you say that middle school kids are so obsessed with MySpace, but as we look at other comments to the blog we see that it’s not only younger people on MySpace it’s also older generations. For example a 20 yr. old person who has been joined to MySpace for 5 yrs which shows that MySpace doesn’t just appeal to a younger crowd.
    As a person that has a MySpace account, I know that it’s a way for me to interact with people that are close to me and to meet people across the country and other places that have nice personalities and cool attitudes.

  4. What I think about MySpace is that it is your own personal world where you can be yourself and keep certain information on it about yourself. You can talk the way you want and to who you want. You can make friends and you have more opportunities’ to do things. Also you have more things to learn about people or other things in the world. My brother meets a lot of new people everyday on MySpace and new things he didn’t know before getting on it.

  5. I am 14, but have the mind of a 30 year old…..

    ALL of my friends have MySpace accounts, and I have acquired about 50 invites in my Gmail account.

    I personally, have vowed never to get a MySpace.

    So, I can sort of sit back and be the mediator in this debate.

    I definitely agree with your idea, that if children were given other opportunities to express themselves, that MySpace wouldn’t be as big of a part of teenage life. But, I think that along with any issue, there is more than one party responsible for the “MySpace Epidemic”.

    The world has changed drastically in the last few years, family dinners and family conversations are extinct in most homes.

    However, MySpace does appeal to more than one age group, (as the other comment clearly showed) I think you would be surprised. A family friend in her 50’s has an account and checks it daily; she has 45 friends and “love’s it!”

    MySpace is like that piece of cake, ‘everyone’ wants a piece.
    Love the way your thinking, really critical!

  6. We as kids feel comfortable on MySpace because it’s ours business and kids, grown ups able to express their thoughts and opinions. Also if this is taking away from us then we won’t have anything to really call our own. You can find your long lost cousins and different family members. It brings people together in unity!

  7. I am a student that has a MySpace account and I concur that MySpace is a way that you can express yourself without the do has and do not of the world. It is like freedom without anyone telling you what to do. Besides, it is the only way for us to escape certain events in our lives. In addition, there is nothing for us to do but to go on MySpace and chat with our friends. Not like there are not other things that we could do, it is just that we don’t see other things in our community that we can do. In addition, it is not just young people on MySpace. It is people that are the ages of 18 and up so technically it is not just young people being grown it is the content that young people put up on the MySpace page that makes them grown (just to make it clear and not to hurt you or nothing like that just a little correction that’s all:) )

  8. I agree with the myspace comment someone left on the blog. The world doesn’t revolve around myspace. I think myspace is something you just do in your spare time. I think it is only right that people have their priorities in the right place before they go to myspace because it is not a life thing that you have to go through. Myspace is choice that people sometimes take advantage of and sometimes loose their minds over it because they put all their time into it. Some people become addicted to myspace.

  9. I do believe that MySpace may be a very crucial area in which both children and adults alike feel as though they are inclined to go to and express themselves on such an enormous and interactive scale! MySpace is like a diary though is it? Only one you let everyone read, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing I do it to!
    Just please make sure that they are not too personal because you never know what will happen.
    Teenagers especially are like superman and MySpace is its kryptonite simply because its there/our weakness and they in particular are so effected because in middle school every bodies trying to be at the top of the food chain/food web. MySpace may be the Wal-Mart of the internet world but really where else can you be yourself? But I will be fair and say that some people out there (you know who you are) are not themselves, but instead someone he/she thinks everyone will think is cool. Overall all we need is something that will appreciate people (teens in particular) for who they really are being a teen is hard (I should know I am one!)

  10. We think that MySpace is just a small part in the equation of the teenager’s life.
    There are many more places and other opportunities that play in to having a sense of maturity or as you say “acting grown”. We agree with the idea of MySpace is like Wal-Mart because you know everyone is going to be there because everyone that is up there you already know them and everyone know people in Wal-mart. We think that the MySpace world does not always respond to good to your feelings and other people feelings. We also think that our lives should open up to more opportunities so that MySpace will not be the only comfortable and safe place where teenagers can feel power and freedom. I also like how the 20 year old agree with us kids for a change about MySpace and with having MySpace accounts it is like what
    Miletha said you are on your own and MySpace is like a virtual reality and filled with aggregators. You can go on many tabs on MySpace on only one website. You feel safe being on MySpace if you know what you are doing while you are up there. Tom the creator of MySpace has done wonderful jobs because tons of people young old have joined now and we just have fun.

  11. Well I like what you think about MySpace a little bit, but I’m like the first person who commented on your blog .I have a MySpace page but my world does not revolve around MySpace either. So I think that if you did come up with a way to make kid’s in the world feel the same way I would be all for it.

  12. I would like to say that myspace is for everybody and that myspace helps people around the world interact with each other. For example the person who is on your blog said that they were on myspace for 5 years and that it is like a diary to them and that they can express their self in a way that won’t affect others. My thought about myspace is that it is not a waste of time because you meet people that may be like you or may be the opposite of you but still your meeting total cool people that you wouldn’t have met in person.

  13. My Way of Thinking

    Well I think you should have used a little more facts from other students to get your point across so people understand where you are coming from. Also you should have given us some ways to vote on so we can express ourselves. But I know where you are coming from because some people might not feel comfortable to each other. A fact of why 13 an under shouldn’t get be allowed on MySpace because they are not as grown, not a teenager, and don’t have any maturity. What I mean is that you should have stated this so people can avoid there children from getting on, they will give off there personal information and can get caught by a person they don’t want to. It doesn’t hurt for parents to be on MySpace because a 20 year old man/women is on MySpace in that is good because they can see what there child is doing

  14. Middle schools are into my space because. They are able
    To talk to their friends, and say what they want to say without their moms and dads say any thing about it.
    If their moms and dads didn’t want them to get on my
    Space why did they get a computer for them In the first place. future millionair

  15. I agree.But I don’t think that Myspace revolves around the world.I think it is just a place where most of us young people go to be themselves or be somebody else. I mean if you ask me I think Myspace is like a young people world because we basically do whatever we want when we want.Its like us taking a step in to adult hood.Also we can express ourselves in any way we can.

  16. I think that students should have there own personal blogs where you can be free to say and do what we want. We should have our own personal blogs were no teachers or parents can read what we got to say mostly just to be free from all the direction parents and teachers give us. I think that may help but on the other hand nothing can take kids from websites like myspace myghetto tagged. Being on the websites such as these are addictive like drugs. Once you start doing drugs you can’t stop. Once you’re on these websites you can never.

  17. I agree with this post, but if you think about it what can we really fill the void with? Everyone’s up there, it’s like our life. We choose what goes on our page and pick who are our friends. We don’t have to worry about our parents telling us what to do because we are in control of our space. It’s like our freedom from our demanding and controlling world that we live in now. Why is it so bad its just kids being kids?

    By: Areile and Tyre

  18. I agree with Miletha because on myspace its like we have so much freedom and we get the chance to express ourselves and show other people something about us. Also at school we can’t do that because most of the things kids are interested it is not school appropriate like when we are in a relationship we can express that on myspace but at our school teachers get mad when we have relationships at school. Also myspace is very personal and private and if you want to express your self you can and you don’t have to worry about teachers or parents.

  19. Well I’m 14 Have A Myspace Account And Have Had It For Approximately 3 Years. I Think Of Myspace More Like An Email Account Not My Own Personal World. Yes, Myspace Does Provide A Fun Environment But, I Wouldn’t Go On Myspace With A Real Serious Question Expecting Good Feed Back. Not Directly Speaking To Anyone (And I Hope No One Takes This In The Wrong Way) But I Think Some People Use Myspace As Like Their ‘Rock’ Or The Only Thing They Have To Do. I Agree With Miletha “I think myspace is something you just do in your spare time.” Myspace Is Just Something You Do In Your Spare Time But, As Kimberly Said There is Becoming A “Myspace Epidemic” Because More And More People Are Just Leaning On Myspace And It’s Not Everything. I Have To Say It Is An Easy Way To Meet New People Especially If You’re Low In Self-Esteem. So This Is How I Feel On The Situation.

  20. I love Kimberly’s idea and agree with it (on some parts). I personally don’t believe that MySpace is the center of every teenage life. I mean yeah, we get on it pretty often, but sometimes to some people, that is their choice of entertainment. I have a MySpace account and I get on it daily-but not forever. I may get on, see if I have any updates, and see who is online, chat with people, change my status and that’s it. Not ever kid has someplace where they can go and have their own little time to themselves. MySpace is where they go. It’s our space. It’s a place where we can be ourselves.

  21. I completely agree with Alan. It is a crucial area for students (and other children) to make friends. Personally, I have had a little experience with Myspace, but I know a bit more about it than the average person (and a bit less, I’m sure).
    When someone first sets up an account on Myspace, they are able to add friends that they have in their e-mail address contact lists, if they have one, and then can branch off onto other pages. Then they can add more friends that are friends of their friends (anyone else confused by that? I am). They can personalize their profiles and add whatever information that they choose to add. In addition, they can tell other people who live a distance from them what they are doing.
    It grants the user easy access to their friends’ web-pages, where they can have conversations with them while they’re miles away from each other. It’s also fun to explore the website and discover new people on the website.

    You can express yourself in a way that’s almost impossible. Don’t you think it’s harder to tell someone something right to their faces because you’re nervous or scared of what they might do or say? Myspace is another way to do that (besides e-mail). There isn’t a lot to do with the real life, considering all of these pros that come from this one series of websites. In my opinion, students rely on their computer as much as they rely on their feet (when they’re walking around).

  22. I like to think that kids can have one place besides (MySpace, face book, etc.) can have a place where we can just talk to our classmates and other friends and be able to express our self because at this age if we cant express our self how are we going to be able to do it later own in our life and I think that it will be a great place to learn how to talk professional we want an online space where where are in control and we know we have power to do what ever we want and I think that sense everything is online know that is the only way we are going to have access to our friends because there always online so I think that it is great that you are giving your students time to talk online with there friends and other people they don’t know to let them express them self’s. I don’t think that there is another way that students can express them self’s except a MySpace face book etc.
    As kids get older they want to define them self’s by something

  23. I agree with Javonte because when I’m on Myspace I feel comfortable just talking to my friends. Being on Myspace is like stepping up into being a responsible young adult, you have the people you know, the one’s you don’t know, the ones you would like to know, and the ones that creep you out…(strangers). Being on Myspace I learned not to talk to people I don’t know and I also started great relationships with other pride members in all grades.
    Miletha I also agree with you us as teens we don’t have that much time in the day to just sit back and relax but in our spare time Myspace is a great way to let go of the stress and have a good time talking to our friends. Though some may consider it’s a way for children to be grown on the low I highly disagree (everyone is not the same) some people act just the same online as they would in person and yes we may sometimes be unprofessional but being a teen and knowing my friends you guys don’t Have to be on Myspace to get out of control (I’m just saying).  To get back to the? I don’t think anything in this world could be like the internet. On the internet we are free; I feel the real world is not free… what I mean by that is you have your parents, the teachers, your community, and people you don’t know to judge you, Online you can be whoever you want to be and no one can change you or judge you based off that.

  24. I agree with what you are saying and I strongly agree with what Miletha said about myspace that “myspace is our own space.” Myspace can be a used in a positive way or a negative way. We choose how we are suppose to create myspace, a safe place or a fearful place. In a positive way, myspace is awesome to talk to friends back and forth on the page. It also gives us a chance to talk to our old friends at other schools when we separated to go to the schools of our choice in fifth grade that we haven’t seen awhile. I also totally agree with Johnnie little say to that “myspace is like Wal-Mart because you know that everyone is going to be there.”
    Myspace is just a time to chill out and relax with your friends. Myspace can be use in a negative way too. You have to look on both sides. You can go up there and be grown and people can start taking you the wrong way and then you will end up doing something that you are not suppose to be doing. People just like being on myspace! That’s how they send most of their time.

  25. I agree with Miletha’s idea of how MySpace is really like a place for kid’s to express themselves and give them privacy. I know that there’s a lot of things that I would like to express myself about but it’s either not appropriate for school or my mom tells me that I shouldn’t talk to her about them things or that it’s not an appropriate time either. So if the way that I express myself isn’t appropriate at school, nor at home, then when/where is it the right time to do that. To me, it’s like MySpace is like a place for us to get away from the outside world, let loose, and don’t be worried about the burden of making sure that it’s time and place or that we use correct grammar. It’s just a place for kids to be kids.

    I really don’t believe that there is a way for you to bring this same kind of feeling on the internet into the classroom. I say that because you can even have your kids make a MySpace account in the classroom but kids still wouldn’t express themselves as they would with their MySpace at home because no matter how similar it is, still going to be during school and most of the things that we’d like to post or talk about STILL won’t be “appropriate” at school. So it really wouldn’t make a difference. They’ll just type what the teachers want to hear or see. It really wouldn’t help.

  26. I think that you couldn’t incorporate MySpace into everyday classes because MySpace is kids own little sanctuary were parents, teachers, or any adults are involved in. MySpace would be under adults care to what we say and how we say it. Especially at the school that I go to would be very difficult because they don’t let you say anything out of the line because they want you to have professionalism all of the time. When people are on MySpace they don’t want to hear about you using slang in your comment that would be difficult and frustrating to teachers and students. So I agree with Raqueta’s statment that My Space is for students only and not for teacher to come and tell us what’s right and wrong.

  27. I don’t think that there is away for the teachers to make the world like the my space or face book, or any talking web site that is on the internet .I think that the internet is the only thing that the students can open there self up to in the world because it is like when you are on the internet you are not yourself because when you are on the internet you let out all of your feelings .I think it is more easier to open yourself because you are not In that persons face when you are talking to them on the internet you are talking to the person but they are not there. That is why I think there is no way that the teacher can make the schools like My Space unless they want us only to talk by the computer which that will be hard to do because how are you going to do your classes????:>

  28. My space is just like my room because you take good care of it you invite people in and you kick people out. All of this can also connect to my space, because when you go on My Space you meet all sorts of new people. Then you can talk freely without being judged and it’s all about the mind because if you don’t watch what you say you can lose one of your friends or associates. Once you’re on my space its like you’re hooked on to something like you’re a fish. It’s kind of crazy but listens. When a fish first gets hooked onto that hook, they think, “I need this food but I got to live”, just like on my space. You want to get off so bad but you can’t, YOU’RE HOOKED! Now you’re unable to get away!

  29. I think that this is true and this is a very smart idea and that this will get people most into because “everyone” knows about MySpace and that It is a very hot topic to talk\write about and t think that you are going to get a lot of great ideas that can help you out to change the world, and that you and “people” look at MySpace and I think that that is a strong way to get more great ideas!!!!!
    I think that MySpace is also a great way to express themselves and do what they want and not have anyone tell them what they can and can’t do it is like you said they are ‘’GROWN’’ and they can do what they want to do and take reasonability and to matters into their won hands. The way I think that they can to make matter into their own hand is that if someone is talking about you through MySpace that you can have a fight over MySpace and he that person a come to your house and get a beat down for talking junk about\and to you and can’t take it anymore.
    I enjoyed talking about this subject.

  30. I agree with Miletha because in school we can’t get a lot of freedom to hang out so myspace so is the best to say whatever you want and no one will be on your back everything that we do yall teachers say that we are 9th graders but in 9th grade we can hang out but in middle school you cant really cant do nothing. But the teachers give a lot of privileges but not freedom. We “love” our teachers beacuse yall teach us every day!

  31. My idea on My Space is that it is a network where you can act like an adult and yourself. It is your choice by either lie about your age or either be who you are with your correct age and personality. I know how many kids say that “my space is fun where you can meet new friends online who you never met before, which is cool and exciting”. Many adults wish that my space was never created by their child getting explored by the world with pictures of them and how they don’t know what to do to keep their child off my space . But I have a solution parents can cut the Internet off so their kids can’t go on my space anymore. Lastly I think that my space should be banish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Emari, Adam , and Javaris
    • Posted April 24, 2008 at 3:47 pm
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    I agree with Miletha’s comment that MySpace is a place that is our space and often a way to vent after a situation; it’s a way to show the world what you as a teenager are going through. -Emari

    I also agree with Miletha’s comment because all children want power over the things that they own. They look up to adults and other role models so; they want power over everything as if they were adults. -Adam

    Having a MySpace really increases my personal learning network because I’m able to have a conversation with multiple people and get their ideas on certain subjects. I agree with Miletha’s comment that it’s our space because it shows that we are able to because we can control what we want to view/learn. -Javaris

  32. I agree with the other comments and the blog. If we didn’t have MySpace, then we would just be trapped in the real world. We wouldn’t be able to express our true selves.-Skyler
    See what happens is that MySpace gives teens an opportunity to express and illuminate their personal world of communication. Okay, you know what I’m saying.-QUEzE
    MySpace is like your home away from home. It’s like an abyssal heaven. You’re free to do whatever you want there. Even though Tom enforces certain rules, people break them anyway so you have a lot of power. MySpace is like the best place in another world.-Skyler

  33. MySpace is like shoes because you are always trying to figure out who’s is better and has the newest ones out. Also because you get to meet new friends and be anybody you want to be, and talk to people who you have always dreamed of talking to. You also get to talk to people from other school, cities and states and you don’t have to tell them who you are. MySpace should be the World Wide Web because everyone is always up there 24.7.Its like a kid in a candy store because you rush to get home from school to see how many messages you have and do you have any new friends.

  34. Hey Ms. Smith I do agree with Miletha it truly is a place where we can say whatever we want knowing we are not going to get trouble it’s kinda like a secret identity. I just love it and I don’t think many people today really understand what we are trying to say or do on MySpace. Everyone fits in and everyone can connect to what you are you are going through which in today’s world with us being kids we don’t really feel that it’s though the grown ups don’t understand what we are trying to say!

  35. My Space is like your home but its open to the public you can design it the way you want and you also can have the friends come over which is like friend request, you know how they say your house is a representation of you and you’re my space page represents what kind of person you are. Miletha’s statement about MySpace was very well stated.

  36. I concur with what you are saying about My Space is letting teens be their REAL self! I think teens are so focused on My Space because the majority of their friends are on that website, it is fun to be on and chat with your friends and on one tells you to watch your language and etc. Many kids just want to be themselves and that’s hard when people tell you what to do. To add on to what I am saying, It is hard for us teens to be our self when people tell us what to type, don’t say this, use these kind of phrases, add on to this, and basically just telling us what to do on that website. Can teens be themselves when they are told what to do? This question should linger in your mind

  37. Miletha-I agree with your idea that kids find MySpace as a safe heaven to be anything they want to be without anyone saying anything about it. I am a 13 year old who has been on MySpace an actually experience the ‘captivating’ feeling MySpace gives you to be able to be older, grower, and just be yourself without being criticized. Even though many people look at the negative connotations about MySpace there are many things that are positive because I know from being on MySpace I have learned how to be an individual and express myself in more ways than one. Don’t get me wrong there are dangers to being on MySpace but there are dangers about being on the Internet period, that’s just the simple fact and by engaging and participating in MySpace you are choosing to put yourself out there but also learning to choose. For example, if a stranger sends you a friend request on MySpace and starts sending you messages, you make the decision to message back and accept the friend request at that point on you, are making the decision to take the authority to talk to who ever you want and set your own image. Why do people feel like they have to create their own image?

  38. I agree with what Raqueta says because some of my own friends tell me that they have a MySpace because certain events happen and it becomes so over whelming that you just need to express the emotion that you are feeling. I also, agree with the idea that a place that you can act older. People can’t tell you what to do there it’s like a virtual reality that younger kids can go to when something goes wrong in their life and just be free in a way. If MySpace is used more and more by younger people then to them it might become their reality or life. Teachers are trying to make the class room feel like MySpace and if we were to be able to act like we or feel like we are in our MySpace world then I think that it would help kids get better grades and be able to be themselves without having to worry about people saying that “you should not act like this”. If our classrooms felt like MySpace then we would not have two have split personalities. Do people need split personalities?

  39. For me, I think MySpace is brilliant and I’m not sure that it need be subverted by some other system. I do, however, think that people need to be savvy about what they post.

    For example, I was interviewing this woman for a job the other day (she was about 25). In my prep work for my interview with her I searched for her on MySpace. I found her–and lots of unprofessional pictures and language all over her site.

    It seems that this raises a really interesting question. So the space is for people to post whatever they want–that represents them. But it is also in the public domain and I, as her interviewer, can see it. Should I let what I saw on MySpace influence my impression of her? This sorta relates to WendyK’s post about split personalities. I have a side that I think is part of me, but I don’t have it on my MySpace page because I don’t want everyone to know that part of my business. Am I being disingenuous?

  40. I think that Myspace gives everyone the opportunity to speak to either close friends or distant relatives. Me for example, I can talk to a cousin in Virginia or I can talk to a friend next door. It’s a great way to talk to people when you can’t get away from a computer. When we are on Myspace we can do a thing we can’t in the real world. We can act like we want to. You can give out a lot of personalities for ourselves and talk to new people at the same time. How is that not something to get attached to? As a result of all this entertainment, people become attached to Myspace because of how much you as an individual can do.

  41. I agree with you that if MySpace was incorporated in to school then students would not feel the pressure to hide who they really are. MySpace for me is a way to keep in touch with my friends and meet new people who I would have never thought existed. I’ve had a MySpace page for 3 years and it is like my home away from home and everyone who is apart of my friend list are like my family. Being on MySpace allows you to keep track of what going on in your friend’s lives and for them to keep track of yours. I would say that most people would agree with me when I say that when we come to school we look forward to extras (drama, magic, documentary, board games, etc.) on Monday and round tables (discussion group where your with the same sex and talk about personal happenings or something that is on your mind that you want to tell someone) Wednesday. During these things, we get a chance to step away form the entire chaotic place we call the world.

  42. I agree with the others that stated that Myspace is a place that teens can be free to expression themselves with out being constantly criticized about what you are doing. Personally I have a Myspace page, and yes I do love to get up there because it allows me to show how I feel about myself, people, and other situations. I also believe that people want to stay in contact with loved ones that have a Myspace page that live a long distance from you. On Myspace you can do or say or be whoever or whatever that you want to do/be. Also this place called Myspace should be a place where kids spend their time but again, not all of their time shouldn’t be on the online

  43. The thing that is the most apparent is that teenagers do depend on the independence of their lives because if we had to put a show on for other people every day, all day and if they are not able to be themselves any time during the day then I think we would eventually pop like a balloon on a needle stack. Our daily lives can’t be spent under a microscope being judged and probed to the point where you can’t ever change their opinion about you but on MySpace you can be whoever you want to be you can be yourself you can be the popular kid, the jock, or the ever most loved person that everyone hopes to be. MySpace is a time you get to escape the real word of problems and enter your own world of solitude and friendship. In daily lives you can’t just leave your problems they stare you straight in the face but when you get online you get to get lost in the world of web 2.0. in conclusion you teens do depend on MySpace who can blame them

  44. Before I read all the comments already posted (and I will,) I just have one observation that has bothered me for years about teens and society. Our communities AND our schools do not provide enough ‘open’ gathering opportunites for teens outside of school hours. Yes, there are clubs, sports, etc. but what about those kids that don’t have the ‘joining’ instinct? Where do they go to meet and learn to interact? Or teens that want to mix with others not immersed in their common interests? More and more frequently -they turn to the internet – sometimes with positive results, sometimes not. I remember even back when my girls were in high shcool, after 3:15, the halls must be cleared. Heaven forbid students want to just meet in the cafeteria to talk or do homework! I read an article today about a new, sad use of technology, a teen-chasing audio box. Believe it or not, it emits a shrill, piercing noise, only audible to teens and young adults! It’s purpose to discourage loitering. THEN we complain that kids are anti-social, or looking for trouble. Let’s work harder to find positive opportunities for kids to meet, in person, not online, and we will develop more well-adjusted, socially aware adults.

  45. I worry about MySpace only in that I fear it is desensitizing us to relationships with each other. It’s great that you can “connect” to people all over the country, but how meaningful is MySpace contact, really?

    Do you really feel strong relationships with the people that you meet or connect with on the internet? Are these relationships as meaningful as those with friends who you can sit down with, hear their voice, and speak eye-to-eye with? Can you really have as good of a conversation on the internet as you can in person?

  46. I enjoyed reading the varied thoughts and perspectives here and would like to comment on a few ideas.

    Brent questioned whether he was being disingenuous my not disclosing every facet of his personality online. But really, who on earth would want the public to know every dirty little secret? We all have different personas depending on who we are around and our purpose. They are all part of our identity, but are suitable at appropriate times and places. There’s a reason that certain things are only shared among close friends. Think of choosing what to post on myspace the same as choosing to whom you want to share a secret. It’s totally normal, and well advised, to be cautious.

    I would also echo Mrs. Smith’s comment and had a similar conversation with a future GCP staff member the other day. We need to provide more opportunities for the school and community to kick back and relax in a safe space. For example: movie nights, karaoke nights, coffee house, poetry slam, etc. Just a chill vibe that allows people to relax and to have conversation. Daniel Sellers brought up my major concern: Personal relationships are deteriorating in this day in age. It is worlds different to receive a letter in the mail from someone than an email. Contrast a real live hug to an emoticon. There’s no comparison. However, many teens are choosing the virtual world to the personally interactive one and that is what frightens me. It’s easier to sa something through a computer than it is in person and often elicits some riskier behavior, which is concerning. People sometimes put themselves out there through texting or messaging and say things they would never consider saying in person and that can be damaging.

    All in all myspace is a fine element of the teenage life, but you can always have too much of a good thing. As long as there is balance and moderation and we use a little prudence it can be a brilliant tool.

  47. Ms. Smith and the blogosphere,

    Your questions after the kids’ comments seem spot on. We have to see potential in Myspace and not just threat.

    Does opening our kids’ writing to external audiences allow them to see how important clarity of language is?

    What is the line between the feeling of ownership and empowerment these online communities may provide and anarchy? Do thirteen year olds need entirely “private” space? The teenage brain is not developed for quality decision making. When kids are left entirely without adult input doesn’t it turn into Lord of the Flies?

    How do we (and this is probably a larger we than just GCP) create a culture where “grown” means something more than cursing and talking about sex?

    Why is adult synonymous with rude and promiscious instead of thoughtful and kind?

    Thanks for sharing the kids’ work.

  48. WOW! So many excellent comments…really has my brain going! I hope these students realize how lucky they are to have a teacher who opens learning up to their thoughts, feelings and opinions.

    As a former teacher I respect the fact that students want a place to call their own. However, I think Mr. Dolan brings up a good point…what is “grown” to these students? You hear so many stories (and see so many MySpace pages) filled with cursing, misspellings, questionable photos, etc… Is that really who these students want to be? And a few students have brought up the fact that it is a place where nobody “corrects” them, but I would challenge them to express themselves with grammer and spelling in mind. Challenging yourself is the only way to exercise your brain and learn!

    I also LOVED Ms. Felters comment…you can have too much of a good thing! I hope as young adults you don’t forget there are other things to read, see and do!

  49. It was interesting to read the postings and comments. A couple of thoughts:
    Somebody referred to a 20 year old as part of the “older generation”. WOW! In that I case I should feel glad that I can still sit up and take nourishment. I won’t tell you how old I am but it starts with a 5. Now that’s old!
    Secondly, use the technology as much as you can and enjoy it but don’t let it take the place of a good face to face discussion or debate. You can learn so much about people, and yourself, by being able to look them in the eye and hear what they have to say. You also get the tone in their voice and the body language. I’m sure as technology advances you will be able to get these over the computer too but always keep the human element in mind.
    Keep up the great work!

  50. Ms. Smith & 2012,

    I think what you all are doing with technology and blogging is incredible. Congratulations by your EOG scores, by the way! I look forward to viewing all of your blogs by the end of the year and leaving my thoughts & feedback.

    In response to your current conversation about myspace, I agree with many of your opinions that it a great medium for creativity, communication, and education. Moreover, I recognize many of the benefits and concerns expressed by both students and GCP staff.

    My thoughts tend to go in a different direction.

    I would like to point out that while it is important to realize that myspace is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the power of information technology.

    While myspace is a great tool for you to be using right now to develop your technology skills and savvy, I would push you to find other social networking and more specific networking sites to increase your internet capital. What I mean by this is that while myspace is a great resource, it is also limiting in some ways. The audience for myspace is very specific to those people whom you already know. It is very unlikely that someone that does not already know you or one of your friends will interact with you on myspace or through your blog.

    Where social networking and blogging becomes most effective is through newspaper and organizational sites. For instance, by logging onto the Washington Post or New York Times websites, you can leave comments about news articles and editorials that people from all over the world will openly communicate through. There is a much larger and educated global audience by doing this.

    Moreover by joining groups through organizations like idealist.org or moveon.org, you are connecting yourself to groups with a specific mission in mind. It takes a dedicated and motivated individual to join these sties, so it is effectively creating a specific global audience for you to communicate with.

    It is important to realize that myspace is a start, but it by no means the end. Rather, the more sites that you connect to with specific interests in mind that connect to you passions, the greater your connection will be to the rest of the world.

    For instance, I get countless e-mails every day from internet news and networking sites about articles I might be interested in reading or opportunities out there for me to participate in. The power of IT (information technology) allows farmers in Uganda to get daily weather reports and the market value for their crops by subscribing to specific websites. It allows reporters and writers to post information that we may care about that would not otherwise appear on the front page or a national newspaper. It can allow you not only to connect to other people, but to your passion.

    If you are interested in sports, you should blog and leave feedback on sites like espn.com. If you are passionate about the ongoing of the world, connect through news and magazine sites. There is so much out there outside of myspace that will get you further with what you care about. It is up to you to take the initiative to go out and find it!

    Go Pride & Carpe Diem,
    Mr. Wu

  51. What a great catalyst for so many fantastic discussions!!

    Not that everyone posted an age in his or her comment but I will add the fact my age starts with a 4. I think in some way I put this in hoping that some of your readers may put a little more reverence into my offering. On the other hand, after reading all the comments I suppose you could say I represent (exactly) what they are trying to avoid. No offense taken.

    As much as what struck me most about what was said was that which was not said. I think we find ourselves in an incredibly pivotal time in history as it relates to education. The age of technology has created two core groups. One, of which I am a full-fledged member of, is that of Digital Immigrant see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_native. The other is Digital Native, this is the one our kids are the inaugural residents of. Ms. Smith has done a wonderful job at bridging this gap but she is one of few. It is my opinion, for the first time in history, the students know how to manipulate the subject matter better than the teachers presenting it. That is to say, students may still not know more than the educators but I believe they are more familiar with the methods for learning that work for them, than the educators do.

    Kudos to those kids of the “MySpace” age that took the time to comment here. It is, I’m sure, a bit of risk to know their comments will be scrutinized. I was intrigued enough to read every post prior to mine and will come back to read those that come after. They are so completely involved in something, a point Ms. Felter makes is well taken. Maybe the MySpacers will gain a sense of community that endures and begs to be expanded. I am of the mindset there is still no substitute for good old fashioned face to face interaction but I’m afraid it’s just that. Old fashioned.

    Nothing is the same. Nor will it ever be. Out of all the comments I read it was Maddin who was “spot-on” with his/her observation. He/She expresses, in my opinion, the most valid point of this whole discussion when describing what I know to be my own and many others’s process during preparation for the selection of future employees. Maddin recounts an instance pertaining to the preparation for an interview. The applicant had a MySpace page that contained content representing a negative impression. Many of those commenting mention the ability to “be whoever we want to be”, implying some of the information provided may or may not be who they truly are. There is a perception that MySpace is not the “real world”. I can tell you that for these kids it is quickly becoming a real world resource for others to identify who they (perspective employers) are dealing with. It could be benign but it could also be the barometer others use to ascertain a view into their identity, real or otherwise. It won’t matter if what the reader is reading is real or not. To the reader, that specific piece of information will forever be the writer’s personality, created or otherwise. The point here is this: These students and all those that follow need to understand that they are not just anonymous members of some far-off land. They need to understand they are, in addition to many other new things, responsible for creating and maintaining themselves as a Brand. The era of voluntary, edited information being provided to the future employers in the form of a resume is coming to an end and may never be a practice afforded to those of 2012 and beyond. These folks need to realize everything they do online is an indelible, infinite record of who they are for the rest of their lives. Yes, MySpace provides an “outlet” but it comes with a price, as does everything. That “price” is reverence for ones own reputation and/or “Brand”.

    Adail13 says, “I don’t think anything in this world could be like the Internet. On the internet we are free; I feel the real world is not free… what I mean by that is you have your parents, the teachers, your community, and people you don’t know to judge you, Online you can be whoever you want to be and no one can change you or judge you based off that.”

    Adail13 is absolutely correct but also needs to realize that MySpace is not “free”, either. Further, that critiquing, guiding, correcting and teaching are not examples of “judging”. They are signs that someone cares enough about who they are and who they will become. It is a sad and unfortunate circumstance that for most kids today, teachers are more inclined to care about who they (really) are than the ones who are “raising” them.

    I don’t mean to single out Adail13 and perhaps I am just proving the point of a lot of those commenting by pointing out what I see as a shortcoming in the thought process. However, I still do not believe that being “grown” is synonymous with having no ramifications for your actions. Further, I would also like to offer that we have gone so far away from holding ourselves in check (by practicing political correctness) we have forgotten how important it is to be holding our peers accountable for their actions. MySpace should be no different.

    Jasmine says “it’s like MySpace is like a place for us to get away from the outside world, let loose, and don’t be worried about the burden of making sure that it’s time and place or that we use correct grammar. It’s just a place for kids to be kids.”
    She goes on to say “I really don’t believe that there is a way for you to bring this same kind of feeling on the Internet into the classroom.” Jasmine, I challenge you to be the first to organize that “classroom” experiment. Not so much to see if it could be done but to find out what it would take to create that environment. Perhaps there are kids out there who could use the benefit of that forum in a less technical capacity. Be a pioneer.

    I concur with Kevin Smith; text lacks context, feeling and body language. Any of us that have had to explain a comment written in an email to someone who was confused or put off by what they thought a sender was saying, knows this to be true. We are becoming a smaller community, through technology, one that does not always seem to require “face to face” input but we need to remember there is no substitution for human interaction.

    I will end with these comments. First, I congratulate Ms. Smith on her desire to continue to bridge the gap between what learning currently looks like and what it needs to be. Christian Long expresses his desire to impart into his students the ability to be continually challenged by the things they don’t know. To strive for compelling questions that can be the catalyst for ongoing discussions. His is a blog I recommend, http://thinklab.typepad.com/think_lab/ and finally, continue to be a part of a discussion. Any discussion.

  52. I think that myspace is a place where u can freely express yourself and not really worry about how people will judge you because they really don’t know anything about you than what’s on your page. I also agree with what Aida, Javontae, and Cheyenna because they say that it helps u to connect with others and helps you to express yourself to others because when your in the real world you don’t get the chance to do so.1

  53. I agree with Dennis. But I think that kids can use something else like an action to meet people instead of myspace. That action could be something like just walking to a grocery store and introducing yourself to all of the cashiers with a nice, firm handshake… Hey, it may sound a little crazy but it is something that people are open to do instead of being on myspace for a chance to meet people outside of your family. The thing I’m trying to say is that some people (not necessarily you) would rather stay concerned with the people around them instead of branching out to the rest of the world. You know what I’m saying?

  54. As I Was Readin Through The Posts I Noticed How Ms. Felter Was Saying That Myspace, If Used Correctly Could Be A Brilliant Idea. I Believe That Myspace Could Be A Useful Item In School. It Would Allow The Teachers To Create A Bridge To The Students To Kinda Enter Their World. Also When Ms. Felter Says That We Tend To Have Relationships More Through Technology…..It Is True…..Well Kind Of B/C It Is Easier To Say One Thing On The Computer Than It Is In Real Life…….Juss Sharing An Idea Please Reply.

  55. I agree with Jalen because when she said that there is danger when you go on myspace. But I live in Gaston and it is dangerous to walk down the street and I think being on myspace takes kids away from being out on the street so they want get into trouble. Being on myspace is very powerful because when I first got on myspace I learned so much from just putting a background on my page too uploading and downloading things on the internet. At first I had no idea ho to upload a picture on my page until I got on myspace and just started browsing. So basically myspace is a powerful thing to use.

  56. I agree with Dennis when he said that Myspace is like your home that the public can see and you can design it anyway that you want. That’s a good connection. Another thing that i would agree with of what Dennis said was that when we invite friends, it’s like on myspace you when you invite some friends on your site, it’s like inviting people over to your house. It’s like a time when you can chat with your friends and have fun.

  57. We think like one another, because we said almost the exact same think but just in to different ways (Javaris) which brings me two the point that nothing can top how much personal time and freedom that has been given on my space

  58. Dear Mr. Martinez,
    I understand what you are saying we have people in this world that cares for us and only want to see us do our best, but what about the one’s that attempt to bring you down? I pose that question to everyone. On myspace it’s different and though it is not the most professional setting I think that us kids enjoy having a space we can truly call our own. I understand that myspace isn’t free and in the same, what in life is truly completely free? I enjoy myspace because I can express my opinion in my own words without any telling me no, that’s not the correct use of grammar or no that’s too unprofessional. I would love to hear more on what you said here “It is a sad and unfortunate circumstance that for most kids today, teachers are more inclined to care about who they (really) are than the ones who are “raising” them.”

  59. To everyone
    What does it truly mean to be grown…?

  60. When we are on myspace I think that its like our little home that we have to take of because its like your in your own little world and many people think that us children are crazy but we not because its not just a website on the internet but its your life on line but not all of it. It’s like the place you go to seek and get advice and then to just show your personality and to be you through many ways (pictures blogs bulletin and all). If you ask your mom for advice it might not really be what you are looking for and what your friends have to say is what you sometimes go by.

  61. what type of things do you think makes my space fel like the real world?Doeit at all?think about itbecause it might just spark the real reason why you love it so much.( this comment/question goes out to every one)
    PLEASE COMMENT!

  62. I would like to comment back to Kim Harris and Mr. Dolans point.
    What is GROWN to kids!!!!!
    Being grown to me and probably to some other kids is being stuck up and vain all of the times you think like you know something but you are wrong and you won’t listen to someone if it depended on their life. Also what I think of the word GROWN is that you think that you know everything in the world and you don’t need any one to help you with anything. Being grown has nothing to do with you being on MySpace because MySpace is a learning network for people over the age of 14 or 14 years old. What are grown are 9, 10, 11, and 12 year olds faking their ages to get on a site that was made for people of an older age.

  63. I also agree with Dennis because no matter where you go what you say, how you say it, and what you do is what defines who you are and can also reflect on your personal background.

  64. This question is to everyone:

    Why do people have this connotation that being “grown” is being promiscuous or trashy why can’t it mean something good?

  65. I would like to say that I disagree with some of the ideas because MySpace is just not about kids wanting to act grown but MySpace is I know very much apart of my personal learning network,. I know that I learn a lot from my friends and others by reading there blogs MySpace is s o much more than a website where you can express your self MySpace is like a class room where everyone is the teacher there so many wonderful things you can learn from MySpace. It’s a learning opportunity in so many different ways for example it teaches you not to talk to strangers. It gives teens an opportunity to be them self’s the young adults they know they are. Do you think that it would be better if kids are on the streets “acting grown” than in the privacy of there home? Do you think that it is better for kids to meet new people on the street or online? If you want to know why so many teens are on MySpace go and see for your self because MySpace is our life its where we go to talk to friends. A lot of powerful people have MySpace pages like Barack, Hillary, and many other so do you think those people are tiring to talk about inapposite things just because there on MySpace?

  66. I also agree with Caleb Dolan on what he says about “Does opening our kids’ writing to external audiences allows them to see how important clarity of of language is?” I would agree with this because on myspace people languages are not very proper englisg. People are saying things in numbers and people are starting to get in that habit and also in text messages too. Do we want our kids to speak like this or in their proper english? Think about that! I will be back soon.

  67. I agree with Mrs.Cindy Smith when she said that we say kids are anti-social.People say this because kids aren’t having that time,person,or place they can express how they feel.I think that when kid found myspace is when they decided that this is the place where they can express themselves.For some people when kids express themselves they take it as them being grown

  68. I think that Miletha made a good point that MySpace really is our space. We use MySpace to escape from reality but the down fall or the fact that we as people are going to face is this question, when are we going to stop running from our problems here in the real world? This is one, actually a main reason why we do have MySpace, even though it was created to be a social place. I.e. The “nerd” or “geek” of Nowhere High school can “run away” from their social status at Nowhere High school and can become GiLa987, the most popular person on MySpace at that time. They are running away and MySpace is helping them, not saying that MySpace is a terrible place but it assists in the most cyber self-kidnapping in the whole cyberspace.
    So I propose my question again, when are we going to stop running away from our problems in the real world?

    P.S. (thanks for mentioning my quote in your blog and citing it )

  69. love the post we are receving ms.smith it’s nice how people are realizing our work i don’t know how we can generally thank them all i’m thinking about creating a post that will show them how much we care

  70. I agree with Mr.Dolan’s idea that everytime your being disrespectful towards someone or even make a mistake that make people view you in a different way people say your being” grown”. I don’t think its going to be easy to change this perception of being an adult or being grown. I feel that the actions of adult make the definition of grown what it is!!!

  71. I agree with Javontae b/c you do feel comfortable and you could be anybody you want without getting picked on.

  72. I I agree with Johnny because everybody thinks of me as one of the most annoying people in the eighth grade but on MySpace I’m the coolest person. Even though people talk about me I don’t care because I feel as though I am a superhero because I have a secret identity.

  73. I just got this 2 say. It’s so cool that there are like 65 comments on this. I still think that MySpace is like a virtual world without those ugly little avatars that look nothing like you. MySpace is like an online bar without the drinks. You just go there to hang out and get away from reality. You can say whatever you want to almost whoever you want and they can’t do anything about it. It’s awesome. When you get on MySpace, you leave your body that’s in front of the computer and your soul goes into the computer to chat, gossip, fight, flirt, or do whatever you want. Once again, it’s awesome.

  74. To comment on Aida’s question i think to be grown is to be educated , mature and knowing what you want out of life. You dont have to be 18 to know what you want im 14 and im perfectly capable of making my own decisions just as an adult can.

  75. To comment on Mr.Dolan’s idea from a teenagers point of view, I think that our minds are not made for quality decision making but are made to prepare us to make those decisions later on in our ‘adult’ life. When are you categorized as an adult?

  76. Mr. Dolan to comment on when you stated “why do we create a culture where “grown” means something more than cursing and talking about sex?” I think it has something to do with the way we (kids) are brought up in life. For some it could be our parents, we want to be like them so much that we want to do everything they are doing. I think influence has a big impact on what goes through a teenage mind. Sooner or later that impact rubs off on their friends and that creates a community of kids being “grown”. but that’s only one view.

  77. Dear aidal13
    I’m glad you can see the intent of most of your adult companions is based on caring for your ability to positively integrate to the “grown up” world that awaits you as well as asked about those that may want to bring you down. To that I would say this: One of the greatest freedoms we possess is our right of choice. Among those choices are the many ways we can choose to allow how others influence us. There are always going to be people who try to “bring you down”, bully and manipulate how you feel and act. It is YOUR choice as to how these influences affect you. Further, WE are responsible for all of our choices. If you feel that someone is bringing you down, you should ask yourself a question. “Did this person negatively affect me or did I LET what they did, negatively affect me? It’s your responsibility to make that choice AND take responsibility for the choice you make.

    I am not a teacher but my job allows me to be involved in schools. I have worked in various parts of the country and I am very interested in what our schools and communities can do to positively impact students, teachers and school administrators. My comment was based on various conversations, occasional news stories and articles that indicate the diminishing interest or involvement by parents, when it comes to the education of their children. Although I do believe it to be true, it was a flippant generalization and would gladly accept a challenge by you to debate. I will respond, here, with any information I can find to back up that statement and look forward to anything you can offer to the contrary. I respect you very much for not just taking what I say at face value and welcome the opportunity to research and share any substantiating information I can find.

    You also challenged all the respondents to define what, to them, it truly means to be “grown”. I believe there is no such thing as “Grown” only growing. I believe you have achieved a substantial part of that growth when you have reached a point when you have matured enough to be comfortable and confident with who you are, are accepted and recognized by your peers as a positive, productive and responsible member of society and can, in some way, give back to the process that helped you achieve that success. Whether it’s through volunteering, choosing an occupation (like Teaching) or just being a good parent. In human terms, “grown” or “growth” is a process, not a destination. Can you tell me what “Grown” is to you?

  78. jay-jay

    “Cyber self-kidnapping”

    That is a FANTASTIC observation and analysis.


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