Districts begin to teach students about social media

Posted on Thursday, 1/23/2014 8:21 PM

From Ohio to New York, districts have begun imposing guidelines on the use of social media in the classroom. With more educators and school systems embracing these websites in their teachings, district officials have noted the importance of educating children about the professional use of these sites.   

As more students become increasingly familiar with these popular sites for personal use, few know how to utilize them in both the educational and professional worlds. Students may not be aware of the digital footprint they create, one that may haunt them as they move forward after graduation. Teaching students to properly handle and post on these sites is crucial for their success not only in the classroom, but in the real world as well.

Kathy Cook, the University of Phoenix's director of educational technology, told U.S. News & World Report that social media had the potential to unlock an array of opportunities for students, including the ability to connect with students from around the globe in a virtual classroom, famous authors and industry experts. Learning how to responsibly interact with other individuals on the Internet is an important part of their education.

Ohio classroom invests in new program
One of the first states to invest in this type of social media education is Ohio, where a Cincinnati school implemented an education course to teach children about major online issues. McAuley High School school nurse Peggy Hock was the pioneer of this program, which tells children of the dangers of cyberbullying, the importance of their posts and how to properly navigate privacy settings.

"We feel it is important to teach our students how to become responsible digital citizens," Hock told WCPO Cincinnati. "We want them to use social media in a way that positively affects their lives both now and forever."

One of the most important aspects of the course revolved around the ever-growing issue of cyberbullying, which according to a 2011 Pew Research Study, 88 percent of online students reported witnessing. 

New York Department of Education creates guidelines
The New York Department of Education recently released a set of guidelines for all students within the system to follow. The handbook stresses the importance of personal imaging on the Internet. With step-by-step guides, it walks students through the process of creating a professional profile that cannot harm students later in their careers. One of the main questions it reminds readers of is, "Would you share that with your mom?"

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