Social Media and school
These days, social media gets a pretty bad rap. It seems like every other day there is a celebrity apology or a story about a teen who commits suicide due to cyberbullying. It’s true, social media can breed some pretty awful stuff.
Let’s face it – teenagers are on social media in school and out of school, even if their parents have told them they can’t be, and even if the school has rules about being on phones during school hours.
Teachers always should use the playground analogy when it comes to the internet and social media.
We let our kids go to the playground knowing that they may encounter bullies there, or that they could fall and get hurt. We teach them how to climb, we help them when they fall or hurt themselves, and we instruct them about how to handle the bullies they may run into.
Social media is the playground of this generation. They still need our guidance and help.
Students learn about how their digital footprint affects their job and college opportunities, about what cyberbullying is and how it affects people, about IP addresses and posting anonymously, and many other important topics.
Teachers must supplement their readings with current articles from the news as well as a short group project about the rights and responsibilities of digital citizens. While reading the book, they can also review the school and district’s acceptable use policy, reading it out loud, word for word, while discussing what each aspect of the policy means.
It is through these discussions that any teacher learn about how students use social media, what their experiences have been, and what their beliefs are. I have also witnessed many students beginning to reflect on their own social media use and the way that they interact with others online.
There still have been blunders that occur when students make poor choices despite everything they’ve discussed, but these discussions make it easier to put these poor choices into context.
Since students have built such a deep understanding of their digital footprint and their digital identity as well as the responsibilities that come with using social media, teachers should feel more comfortable using social media in the classroom. For instance, teachers can ask children to create a video or In addition, students in tech class can create posters about digital citizenship and shared them on the school’s website.
Schools and teachers don’t have to be afraid of social media if they take the time to teach kids how to play on this virtual playground responsibly, ethically, and safely.