Should Students be Banned from Social Networks at School?

This post by Nick ONeill on Social Media Today is interesting in the context of my previous post about young people and social networking sites.

My view is that we should be informing, educating and supporting young people to be more responsible online and far more aware of the dangers and security threats they may or may not face by sharing information online.

An excellent website that i am aware of called thinkuknow has some great information for young people, parents and practitioners in this area.

Personally from my experience young people see these sites primarily as ways in which they can continue the dialogue with their friends and do not always see the wider aspects of the platform they do it in.

before people start thinking about shutting down sites, they should focus on what is happening generally in the world and by banning sites now does not stop some of the things that happen in these sites from happening in the real world.

Some of the comments i received last week were that young people are concerned by bullying in these sites as well as in the real world…my view is that with a digital footprint, you have a clear audit trail of this type of activity then would if it were happening in the playground.

These are my views at present and i am continuing my thought process in this area as we need to make sure we make the right decisions for the right reasons. Anyway take a read of Nick’s post….

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2 Replies to “Should Students be Banned from Social Networks at School?”

  1. I think theres a need for schools and local authorities to take a look at the bigger picture with regard to limiting internet access. I don’t think concerns about bullying are sufficient to ban access – if thats truly the concern then why not ban playgrounds too?! I think in truth its more to do with fears about the unknown.

    An argument I can understand for limiting access is that they’re simply a waste of time – I know this very well from how many young people that were involved with one of old sites who would use it for messaging each other and other people during school lessons (they could use our site under the disguise that it was primarily about volunteering rather than regarded as a social network).

    But I think theres a very important counter argument to this which is that if schools are preparing young people for the future working environment most likely they will need to manage online distractions. Facebook is interesting because it seems to be going beyond being a social network with lots of applications that can be used for productivity – add this to the keenness of business to take advantage of marketing opportunities and its quite likely that for many jobs you could justifiably have it open as part of your work. That alongside whatever other software you’re using, and however other many browsers you’re using & so on.

    So with that in mind do schools ban access and therefore leave young people to figure it all out for themselves? Or do they help young people use them effectively and understand how to manage their workload by being able to move between applications and windows, respond to messages, research whatever information they need safely and be able to critically evaluate the validity of it all?

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