40,000 high school students from the class of 2017 applied to Harvard this year. 2,056 of those applicants were offered admittance to the most prestigious university in the US. Approximately 1,725 applicants accepted Harvard’s offer. That is an acceptance rate of 4.3%! Those are pretty slim chances of getting into a dream college.
Privacy and permanency are two of the most difficult concepts for teens to comprehend when it comes to their activities online. Privacy does not exist in any form when talking about social media posts, texts, pictures, videos, etc. Permanency exists beyond the comprehension of middle school and high school students. The challenge we face as parents and educators is to find ways to take these two abstract concepts that teens struggle to understand and make them concrete and relatable. I have had the greatest success in communicating these ideas through the use of real life stories and examples that kids can understand and relate to. Here is the most recent story of teens making some extremely poor decisions online and the resulting consequences.
There are at least 10 students out there who just recently experienced the greatest accomplishments of their young lives. They achieved something that the vast majority of society can only dream about. They were accepted to Harvard University! I cannot imagine the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into 4 years of high school to achieve acceptance to Harvard. Yet, with a few poor decisions, a swipe of the finger, and some ignorance about the privacy and permanency of their social media activities, that acceptance has been revoked. I can almost guarantee you that every, single, one of these students have been instructed that their social media actions can have permanent and very severe consequences to their futures. These 2017 graduates have forever changed the course of their college future. If only they had thought before they posted…
Take a moment to share this story with your children or students. It is a great, yet sad, example of the permanency of social media. I will ask my children to read this story and see what their reactions are and where the conversation goes. There may be no comments or questions. There may be a simple shrug of the shoulders or a roll of the eyes. However, there may be a great conversation that results. Regardless, I can be certain that they will understand the impact of these 10+ formerly Harvard bound students’ online actions. This is a very relatable story that will help communicate the message of permanency.