Monday 2 April 2012

Should parents follow their children on facebook?

You are going to
  • discuss social networks
  • listen to some teenagers discussing social networks
  • listen to some teenagers and parents talking about their online relationships and order their comments
  • look at some language used for writing - connectives
  • write a discursive essay on the topic

1) Discuss
  • Do you use any social networks?
  • Why do people use them?
  • What do you do on them?
  • What effect do you think they have on people?
  • Do they change how you think about other people?
  • Do they make people happy?

2) Listen
An American study suggests that social media can affect your thinking about other people. VOA Learning English talked to some young people to find out what they thought

Researchers at Utah Valley University wanted to explore if the amount of time spent on Facebook affected how users saw others.
  • What questions did they ask college students?
  • What did they find?
  • Do you think it's true?
  • What does Tod Kashdan say is important to do?

Answers - Highlight here = They asked college students if other people have better and happier lives. And, how long they had used the website and how many hours a week they spend following Facebook friends. The study found students who were more involved with Facebook were more likely to think other people's lives were happier.
Tod Kashdan says it is important to live your own life.

3) Discuss
Should parents to follow their children's activities on social network sites? Why / Why not?
Are you "friends" with your parents / children?

4) Listen
Students from around the UK told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour about how involved their parents get in their social media lives.
They discussed whether parents should be "friends" on sites like Facebook, and how much privacy they were allowed.

  • How many of the comments are by parents / teenagers?
  • Do they think being "friends" is a good idea?

Click play to listen

School Report is an annual BBC project which helps young people make their own news reports for a real audience.

5) Put the comments in order
Read the comments below. Listen again and put them in the order you hear by choosing a number form the drop-down menu.

6) Informal expressions
These common informal expressions have been edited out
... and stuff...'s like...  it's kind of like sort of...
I'm like...

What do they mean?
Highlight = for answers 
... and stuff...   = etc's like...  it's kind of like sort of... = describing something 
I'm like... = can be used like reported speech eg I'm like "Leave me alone!" or describe feelings eg I'm like so angry / happy...

7) Discuss
"If you post something that your mum won't be happy with then it's really not suitable"
  • What kind of things do you think are suitable to post on a social network?
  • What are the dangers of posting unsuitable material?

8) Writing / Connectives
If we are speaking we use quite informal language. However if we are writing we should use more formal expressions. Look at these connectives / linking words.

Don’t forget to have an introduction
Introduce the topic and question

In addition
That is why
As a consequence
As a result of this / that
On the other hand
In general
On the whole
For example
For instance
It’s my opinion that…
It seems to me that...
I agree that...
I am convinced that...
It seems obvious to me that...
To sum up
When all is said and done
After careful thought we can see that...
It can be seen that...
In conclusion

Fill in the gaps with the connectives shown

Printable versions here

9) Read and discuss
Look at the information below.

  • How many parents send a friend request to their kids?
  • What do they look at on facebook?
  • What else do they look at?
  • Do you find any of the statistics surprising?

Keep tabs = follow
Snooping = spying
nosy =  curiosity about other people's affairs.

Parents on Facebook

Courtesy of: Online Schools

10) Write
"Children and teenagers are vulnerable on social networks and many are on facebook without their parents' permission" 
To what extent do you agree with this statement? Do you think it is justified for parents to follow their children's activities or is it an invasion of privacy?
Give reasons for your answer using your own ideas and experience.

More Connectives

More reading

Quiz. Are you addicted to facebook?

More on writing arguments and linking words

More on EFL SMARTblog
Sexting: is technology endangering teenagers? Advanced, Discussion Activities, Health and Safety, IELTS, Listening, Sexting, Smartphones, Technology, Upper Intermediate

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