Should it be the job of schools to teach the do’s and don’t of social media? Many educators think the answer to that is “yes.” One counselor, using a curriculum created by the non-profit Common Sense Media, talks with his students about “Disinhibition, reputation, anonymity.” He says that teens get right away that disinhibition means acting impulsively, without showing due restraint, in a way that’s aggressive or plays up another personality trait. He also talks about the number of fights that start at school that have their root in things that started online.
Others, though, including Dennis Kelly, president of the United Educators of San Francisco, a local teachers union, says teachers are already drowning in work — especially now with Common Core. While social media is important, Kelly says, so are other things. “It would be very difficult for schools trying to keep up with Instagram, Facebook, all of the apps that exist out there that are essentially market driven.”
The truth is that, while apps come and go, and the contingent issues and yet to emerge problems that come with them are yet to raise their ugly heads, social media is here to stay. The social media world boils over into schools every minute of every school day. Without schools keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the digital world, teaching online etiquette to students, and discussing the implications of what is going on in the social media world, it is like saying that current events shouldn’t be part of ongoing lessons. School, parents, and teachers have to get serious about talking about what is going on in this parallel universe or risk being seen as irrelevant.