I get it. Opening up social media sites on your district’s network can be scary and overwhelming, especially with the constant reports about online bullying and inappropriate communication between educators and students. But what is equally concerning to me is knowing that our students use unrestricted social media and other communication tools anyway, many without supervision, guidance and no understanding of their content’s ramifications.
Sure, students could use those “educationally designed” social media sites that are highly restricted and safer for underage students. But let’s face it—when kids are hanging around their friends or communicating with them online, they don’t use those sites. They’re sharing videos and images on Instagram. They’re doing the same on Snapchat. The list goes on and on and will continue to do so as new sites are created.
Students need digital citizenship training
Unfortunately, a large number of our students do not receive any level of instruction at home on how to be safe, responsible digital citizens. We further compound the problem by blocking the sites at school where students could be learning safety and responsibility and practicing proper use under educator supervision.
Because of the lack of digital safety and responsibility education outside of school, the onus is on us as educators. We must ensure our students receive proper training on how to behave and stay safe online.