Parents and teachers can tell you that the best way to get an important message across to a child isn't to preach until you are blue in the face. Show, don't tell is a powerful tool and works wonders. One fifth-grade teacher proved this by stepping away from textbooks and instead using herself as a guinea pig to demonstrate to her students just how dangerous it can be to post a photo of yourself online.
And the results of her campaign were both extraordinary and even a little frightening: within 24 hours her photo was "liked" by almost 7,000 people on Facebook and shared more than 400 times. And then it made its way onto Reddit. And that's when things started to get really interesting.
Folks on Reddit decided it would be an awesome idea -- and they were right -- to pitch in and help this teacher by manipulating her photo. Their new photos show kids just how simple it is to take an image they innocently post online and change it completely. The original message on the poster the teacher held up in her photo read:
I'm talking to my 5th grade students about internet safety and how quickly a photo can be seen by lots of people. If you are reading this, please click "Like." Thanks!
Here's how one Reddit user altered her picture:
Yikes. Another user turned the educator into a pirate holding a treasure map:
Here's an example of a photo that serves as more of a warning for a teacher posting a picture online than it will for her students:
And here's my personal favorite. Nothing like a little Morgan Freeman body swap:
So, what have the kiddies learned from Awesome Teacher's brave experiment? The most obvious lesson here is that photos posted online are not private property and that a picture can be shared by thousands of people within hours. I think it's difficult for children, who are often powerless in their lives, to imagine they can make such an impact with the click of a button.
But there is also a super-important point to be made here about how easy it is to mess with an image and defile a person's character in just a few seconds by using the cheapest of photo editing apps. Kids should learn that, if they are going to share photos online -- and they will -- they need to keep their social media accounts private.
And finally, this teacher could easily use her project to teach impressionable young children about how images in media are often photoshopped so that female and male models look very different.
Kudos to her for putting herself out there to teach these important lessons to her kids!
What do you think about how this teacher used technology to get a point across to her students?
Image via Facebook