Editorial: Social Media

 

Look around U-32.  How many kids do you see on their phone? Ten? Twenty? More?

So should social media be taught at school?  

According to the Pew Research center  (http://www.pewinternet.org/) 92% of teenagers report going online daily. Not only that, but I keep safe (http://ikeepsafe.org/ )says kids ages eight to eighteen spend an average of 44.5 hours a week in front of a screen. But is social media more than teens just being social?

Here at U-32 we asked  ten teachers“Do you think social media should be taught in schools?”

Ten out of ten teachers said yes.

One teacher who remains anonymous said, “It shouldn’t have it’s own class, but, should be brought into a media literacy class.”

Another teacher who spoke anonymously said “The way social media is used now in schools is a distraction, but if we taught it in an innovative way then yes.”

With the help of Meg Allison, George Cook’s INC. class spent a semester running social media accounts for Liz Lovely, a local vegan cookie company. This encouraged students  to think outside the box and see social media as a marketing tool, not just a communication tool. So If business classes are required for high school students to graduate in 17 states according to business insider (http://www.businessinsider.com )  then should teaching about social media be required?

When you go on Facebook you see status updates from varieties of companies. And when you see their post you click on their page.  That is a form of free advertising.

But do kids see that?  George Cook said, “Companies like Uber, a travel agency, use only social media to advertise their company.” This company connects people seeking rides with drivers who use their regular cars as a taxi service.
Meg Allison, U-32’s high school librarian, gave her opinion: “Yes, I do think social media should be taught in schools.” When asked why, she said, “because social media has become such a huge game-changer in society and today’s generation. It helps people communicate with each other, whether it’s a student getting in touch with a scientist or even their favorite author.”

This is true. Many kids follow their favorite authors and professionals on Instagram, Twitter and/or facebook.  I asked 10 anonymous kids the question, “Do you follow an inspiring professional or a company on your social media accounts?”

All but one kid, who didn’t have social media, said yes.

One student said, “Yeah, It is good advertising. If I see a picture of Ben and Jerry’s I’ll most likely ask my mom to buy me some.”
 

Social media plays such an important role in everyday life.  Schools need to have more classes based on the real world.