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Acting Responsibly on Social Media: Right Time, Right Place

By: Lauren Sharpe- Marketing manager

Once introduced to technology, kids become addicted. According to a 2012 survey by The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 95% of students have consistent online access and 81% use some kind of social media. As such, social media has had an impact on marketing, communication, advertising, and elementary and secondary classrooms.

Vanwynsberghe & Verdegem (2013) claimed that one consequence of using social media is that the boundaries of public and private information blur. One example is that in classrooms, students do not need to use social networking in order to communicate. Nevertheless, social media consumes the world we live in, along with compromising the students’ identity into the outside world.

With that, school can and should remain the one safe haven where kids can unplug and just be in the present moment. Students increasingly live out their lives online, making for little control over how things appear on the internet. For example, if a student says something negative about another person, it could really damage that student’s future. On that same note, students need to stay in control of their lives by acting responsibility on social media. Social media can be used once the student is old enough to understand the concept that internet content and reputation come hand in hand.

In addition, students want to use social media for socializing, and not so much as an extended classroom. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project also stated that teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they have in the past. With that, 91% of students post photos of themselves. These types of posts create unwanted content which will forever be on the internet. Social media prevents students from being socially aware of anything beyond themselves. For example, a bored teenager no longer has to listen to an adult conversation in the car, at the dinner table or in the family living room. The teenager most likely picks up on absolutely none of the conversations since they have an object that can tune out the outside world. In this way, social media is not expanding the kids’ social circle or world views, social media is limiting it.

A few social networking sites that teachers encourage their kids to use include: Edmodo, Skype and Google+. Edmodo is a Facebook like interaction between the students in the classroom and their teachers. Edmodo has 50 million users and is basically used for online classroom discussions. The down side to these “kid friendly” social networking sites are that the kids are still too young to understand the concepts of the internet. Young people have a tendency to want to be heard, even if they are uninterested in what others have to say. With that, keeping discussion time in the classrooms compared to an online chat session seems to be a lot more productive for the students’ education. Classroom discussions also enable the growth of the minds of the other students in the classroom.

Social media is not a bad thing, but one should be cautious and keep social media where it belongs. Students need to stay focused on being fully present inside their classrooms and not so much in the realm of social networking.

Vanwynsberghe, H., & Verdegem, P. (2013). Integrating social media in education. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 15(3). Retrieved from

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