A few years ago, I had the pleasure of volunteering for four days within a lovely year 6 class, and it struck me that all pupils had to put their mobile phones in a box during class time. The fact that nearly every student even had a phone was bewildering, despite only being out of school myself for the last 15 years. Technology and society at large are transforming at an alarming rate, and it’s easy to forget what is considered normal today was not conceivable at some point during most of our lives.
And now, with the widespread use of social media among young people, it is important we examine how it can be used effectively to enhance learning and engagement, as well as the potential dangers it presents.
It’s true social media can be a powerful tool for education. Greater connectivity can be used to connect students with experts and resources from all over the world, promoting collaboration and discussion on a level previous generations haven’t had access to.
But are we using social media for beneficial purposes as a society? The answer must be no, and the education sector isn’t immune to this.
Most educators are obliged to take great care to remain hidden on social media platforms, and some don’t use it at all for fear of their personal lives being used against them. With recent reports of TikTok videos targeting teachers, and with a huge spike in cyber bullying, affecting both teachers and students, for now at least, the cons seem to outweigh the pros.
We could list a variety of ways teachers can help to control the impact of social media usage on their students, but ultimately the responsibility must lie with parents and the technology platforms themselves. This recent Ofcom report stated that 33% of parent respondents said that their child aged 5-7 had a social media profile, with this number going up to 60% for 8-11 year olds. This is despite the minimum age requirement for social media using being 13 years old.
Here’s the entire snapshot.
As society continues to grapple with the impact of social media, it is important that we consider both the benefits and drawbacks of its use and work to mitigate any potential harm.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
This article was written by the TeacherHaven team, help us support education by contributing to our blog, email us at email@example.com