April 11, 2014
Should Schools Offer Social Media Etiquette Classes?
As the world of social media continues to grow, its application in the education world also increases. More and more teachers are harnessing the power of social media to help students connect with one another as well as voice opinions and debate with one another properly.
“I set up class blogs … these are designed to help students develop their ‘writer’s voice’ while providing them with an additional outlet for developing their opinions about complex topics in conversation with others,” Elizabeth Hilts, an adjunct professor at Fairfield University, told Mother Nature Network.
While the practice of using social media in a positive way for education has merit, its heavy usage has also opened the gateway for a number of negatives including bullying, slandering, cheating, invasion of privacy, and a loss of proper grammar usage.
The popularity of sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest has spurred a debate regarding whether or not students should be taught proper social media etiquette in school.
“Without instruction from teachers (or, ideally, parents), children will get their primary guidance on these issues from their peers,” A.M., a former teacher told VOXXI. “That makes the internet and social media into a nebulous moral grey area. Schools should put these already-covered ethical issues into the online context, because like it or not, our world is now inextricably connected.”
His view is shared by Maria Ulrich, a university student focusing on creative writing. According to Ulrich, the concept of responsibility has been lost in regards to the Internet.
“The separation and ‘freedom’ to say as you will without any apparent consequence has further damaged our youths’ ideas of what is right and wrong, into more of what can and can’t get away with,” she said, adding without proper social media instruction, individuals will use and abuse the services as they see fit.
Not everyone agrees taking social media etiquette into the classroom is a good idea. As increasing responsibility is placed on teachers to not only educate in the topics of math and science but also in ethics and morals, concerns are raised that perhaps teachers are faced with too much responsibility.
“Schools are already now expected to teach children morals, ethics, to keep them safe, to provide meals, and address any social issue that arises,” says Erin Allen, an educator from Upstate New York. “In addition, teachers have to make sure their students are scoring high enough to maintain their school’s funding. Teachers are expected to be super heroes. What I would like is for someone to pose the question when are we going to start holding individuals and family structures accountable? People need to look inward, take the reins and start enforcing social etiquette again.”
Advocates of more home involvement when it comes to student social media etiquette are not all opposed to bringing in social media lessons on a diminished scale.
Dr. Barbara Ulrich, a veterinarian and mother of 2, told VOXXI the pervasive nature of social media makes it reasonable for teachers to reference proper use in relevant classes, such as computer courses. Instead of offering an entire class dedicated to social media lessons, she suggests perhaps general assembly lectures be considered to consolidate student learning without taking up a lot of classroom time.
Do you think schools should teach students how to properly use social media?