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Should social media be taught in high school?

For the first time in history anyone has access to media that we cannot control but that can generate hundreds of millions of eye balls in a few days. Should children be taught how to make effective use of it?

Seeking Opinion Education , Digital Future , Social Media 4 years ago
Francesco admin
Founder @
London, GB

10 experts and 7 parents have answered

expert answer
Matt Britland expert
Matt Britland Head of Department Kingston upon Thames, GB
Education expert

I think it should definitely be taught in school.

It can be used productively and safely if schools are willing to embrace it.

I teach my students how to use Facebook privacy settings and encourage teachers to create Facebook groups for school.

Twitter is also fantastic and opens up a whole new world for many people.

8 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Jane Chin, Ph.D. expert
Jane Chin, Ph.D. Eats Tiger Mothers for Lunch Los Angeles, US
Parenting skills expert

When I attended early elementary school in Taiwan we had a class called "Society" [社會], which covered concepts best described as "civics" and matters of navigating society among people.

When I attended a British (International) elementary school in the middle east, we had explicit rules of engagement with teachers and implicit rules with students.

When I went to middle school and high school in the United States - I felt as if there were few or no rules: anything goes - it was very disorienting to me, and I eventually grew used to it because I had those social rules drilled into my head during the early formative years of elementary education both East and West.

Social media presents a new aspect of social engagement that today's children are exposed to. It is an additional dimension of existing, expressing, and engaging that I did not have before. Therefore, like any new "social playground", it comes with profound rewards and tremendous risks. I think this is a new category of "civics" or "society" course that should be mandatory in school - and even before high school. I'd start in middle school.

Children need to learn that these streets of social media can be fun, but also very dangerous, and sometimes life-changing accidents can happen in the blink of a button-click. Like life, there is no "un-do" with social media - once a person has seen something, the person cannot "un-see" an image or a text no matter how hard we try scrubbing it.

5 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Christina Jones
Christina Jones Mom who loves tech! US

I do think social media should be taught in schools, but more on reputation management than new happenings in social media. I don't think there is enough education out there on the what not to dos of building an online presence.

I see many status updates, tweets etc. about what people are doing (or not doing) in the workplace. I think if there is more awareness on how it could affect career and reputation, this could be very effective.

5 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Lynn Schreiber expert
Lynn Schreiber Social Media Trainer Dundee, GB
Social Media expert

Yes. Definitely.

We are raising the first Social Media Generation - as Rosie said there is a lot of emphasis on safety and dangers, but we also need to talk about the opportunities that come with being connected.

I am also becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of understanding in schools of what Social Media is, how it can be utilised and harnessed. Many teachers simply do not have the knowledge necessary to inform their pupils, as they don't use it themselves.

A further issue is the long term implications for children who post personal opinions online or share content that should perhaps better remain private. There are hundreds of cases of teachers who have been disciplined after posting inappropriate content on Facebook, but what of the teens who are growing up used to sharing everything online.

With prospective employers and universities likely to google search applicants, it is important that kids are aware that if they post something inappropriate online, it may come back and haunt them later.

3 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Lisa Marie Sturgeon expert
Lisa Marie Sturgeon Literacy Specialist/Teacher CA
Education expert

It is important to teach social media in a way that gets kids thinking critically about the purpose of it, and ways to use it wisely. A lot of education needs to go into teaching safety. Children need to be made aware of the dangers, such as bullying, that can occur in social media.

2 Reply Share:
Fact 4 years ago
expert answer
Rosie Dymond expert
Rosie Dymond Non-Directive Play Therapist Sheffield, GB
Family therapy expert

I think schools desperately need to raise their game when it comes to including online social media in their curriculum. It is arguably the biggest and most powerful force happening in the way we communicate globally and it's essential that children and young people feel empowered and informed about how to use it and what amazing benefits it can have in their lives. Our kids are growing up in a world that bears no resemblance to the world in which our educational system was set up. School is struggling to be 'relevant' and is tired and lagging behind seriously. (don't get me started) There is a lot of emphasis on here about safety and the dangers, well I feel the focus should be the strengths, the opportunities, the creativity and the possibilities it offers.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Nick Smith
Nick Smith Interested in education & tech. London, GB

From the point of view of online etiquette and not feeling like you're losing control of your online identity, definitely. Social media interactions can quickly spiral into unexpected consequences. Education and advice is especially useful for introverted kids or those with less confidence.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Kristin Bennett McNeely
Kristin Bennett McNeely Techie Designer Mom Seattle, Washington

Yes, I do think it should, but NO I do NOT think it should be all about how bad or scary it can be (which is what schools seem to be focused on).

I think that if kids know that there are cool social media sites like Quora, and NOT just facebook/vine/whatever the next one is, we will be doing MUCH better. Hook them up with communities of coders who can help them get their code right, find recipes that allow them to cook yummy food around their friend's allergies. If like me they moved a LOT as a kid hook them up to tckids sites to meet other people without a place they are "from" to speak of.

Social media needs to be taught but let's focus on the POSITIVE that is out there, and not just scare them away from the shallow stuff, let's teach them about the POTENTIAL of the internet.

Teach them they can look stuff up on wikipedia, THEN teach them ways to confirm/disprove/edit the entries...that's giving them power, there is so so much out there.

2 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Mark Dinsdale expert
Mark Dinsdale Schools ICT eSafety Advisor Merton, GB

Facebook is available lots of secondary schools but they should not be using it until they are 13 (Based on American Advertising Laws). If they have an open profile then they can be bullied and set upon by other people.

We find lots of unpleasant messages coming through the trap account from Facebook.

1 Reply Share:
Fact 4 years ago
Wendy McAuliffe writer
Wendy McAuliffe Mummy blogger & PR specialist Bournemouth, UK

It's an interesting question, but I don't really believe social media should be taught in schools. I don't think kids will need it, as they're growing up with social media, and it's going to be intrinsically wired within their makeup. Plus speaking as a social media trainer, I know how quickly things change. I need to update my training materials monthly. What you teach to a school kid in September would be out of date by June, for example, and they'll probably be keeping more up-to-date than their teachers will be! Who knows what the online media landscape will look like by the time they graduate, but I don't think any social media classes will be able to prepare them for that. As other people mention, I agree that teaching safety and privacy online etc is important, but I don't think that requires social media classes.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
C. Lee Reed
C. Lee Reed Tampa, US

I believe so. If they are taught appropriate usage and safety, then perhaps some child, any child, will be saved.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Andy Powell expert
Andy Powell Internet Consultant Oldham, GB

There is one simple concept that needs to be taught to kids with regards to social media and the internet.

"There is no such thing as privacy on the internet".

If you put it on-line, its out there, and while it may seem private today, it might not be tomorrow, with changes to terms of service, privacy settings or even data breaches any thing can happen.

My daughters school at a recent safety evening made a big deal about understanding privacy settings, but to put it bluntly if you need to keep it private you probably shouldn't be putting it on a social network.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Richard Taylor expert
Richard Taylor Father of 4 boys & IT Consultant Bushmills, GB
Technology expert

In my eldest sons school it is already a key part of lessons - they have a one hour lesson every week with their form tutor with a fancy name like "health and social well-being" or something else flowery like that. In that class they all discuss things like Facebook, indeed the school policy is very forward thinking indeed and they expect all pupils to be on Facebook and friends, and actively use Facebook to stop any bullying.

When we looked around schools we were struck instantly by how fantastic and realistic the school was: "we know that your children at age 11 should not be on Facebook, however we recognise that nearly all of them already are". The headmaster continued "and so we do not police this, however we do actively ensure that social media is used to report and stop bullying by getting anything out in the open rather than as a hidden away taboo".

I think they are an absolutely wonderful model of how secondary schools (Age 11+) should be approaching social media and using it as a great way to spread information. The exact words my son used when I asked about bullying at school - "no-one gets bullied at all, why would they? if anyone saw them then everyone would know and they would get in a lot of trouble". It occurs to me that the school has very cleverly realised that Facebook and Twitter are the invisible "big-brother" that if managed correctly serves to stop bullying rather than enable it.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson Dad of 3 girls & Estate Agent. Dorchester, GB

Having heard about people being refused jobs due to their social media accounts, then yes we should teach people about the benefits and negatives of social media, however, I don't think we see, or can teach, the whole picture and how the future is going to pan out, education will at least allow students to decide for themselves how they use social media, how they portray themselves....and they may even creat the next big boom!

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Guto Lloyd-Davies
Guto Lloyd-Davies Father of 2 - Geek Denbigh, GB

Here in Wales, the Education Minister Leighton Andrews has just spoken out on this issue. He says that it should be allowed, with students educated on safe use of social media. I couldn't agree more! Its time to stop blocking and get educating.

0 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Priya Desai expert
Priya Desai Speech and Language Therapist London, GB
Language expert

Lots of good points have been raised here. I think it is so important to move with the times; however, on reading this question, one thought occurred to me - social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram; well, it's all quite addictive! As adults, we can't help but check our phones constantly during the day. Surely an emphasis or attention payed on social media at school, will only be a distraction for children ?

0 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Rob Zidar expert
Rob Zidar Co-Founder, ThirdParent US
E-safety expert

I think the majority of social media education should be done at home by parents, not by teachers at school, who have enough on their plates with basic curriculum. Two exceptions are that schools should discuss social media when it come time to define anti bullying guidelines and policies, and teachers could introduce social media in the classroom if they see it as an effective teaching/learning too.

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Opinion 3 years ago

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