I was reading an article on CNN recently, entitled Principal to Parents: Take Kids off Facebook, and it started me thinking about who use social networking, and why.
The article addressed a principal’s concerns that students, in this case middle-schoolers, use Facebook and other social media for inappropriate reasons, such as bullying. It also opens up the door for personal information to be spread across the web, which can cause difficulties for students down the road. They may not be aware of the complexities that can arise for them now and in the future, as a result of personal information being shared.
The article did not address positives of students using social networking sites, however. It can be a way for students to interact with relatives and friends, to communicate successes in school, on the athletic field, or other events in their lives. Students can also be ‘friends’ with parents, older siblings, or even teachers and coaches, any of whom may provide guidance through positive online conversations, posts and updates.
As adults, many of us do use social networking tools for keeping up with family, friends, and acquaintances. It is ideal for planning reunions, parties and events. It is also a great tool for businesses, to communicate with customers and prospective customers. For your school, it can be a practical tool to communicate fundraisers, schedules, and accomplishments to parents, PTA, and alumni.
Does your school use social networking sites as a way to communicate? Do you also block social networking sites on school computers for students who may not be a particular age? Let me know. Given today’s technology, this is certainly not an issue that will be going away anytime soon.