From birth, until approximately 16 years of age, the human brain experiences its most critical stages of development. Throughout these 16 years, approximately, an individual’s life experiences, ranging from those learned at home to experiences outside of the home forms the person they will be (concerning personality type) for the rest of their life.
One of the shared experiences for young people (let’s say 5 through 17 years of age) is that of going through the education system, as an initial requirement for being an active member of the world. It would be an outright lie to say that education systems for each country are very similar. However, as each country operates differently, having a stable education system is an important factor in keeping a society in working order (for the most part).
Social Media, according to merriam-webster.com is defined as: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).* As the whole world is faced with using these perplexing platforms, both students, aged 5-17 years old, and the education systems themselves are affected negatively because of Social Media. Examples of social media which you are sure to be familiar with are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. In truth, Social Media should not be available in public or private schools. I write this post in favor of a better quality life for young people, and because I care about fixing the problems affecting the world’s education systems.
The first reason social media causes problems in the education system, is because it is a distraction from learning. It would seem that many students are unable to acquire information from the lectures taught by teachers because they are preoccupied with social media; especially because students can access social media via their cell phones, throughout the school day. In other words, many (but not all) students physically go to school, but they do not learn much of what the teachers are trying to teach them, because the students aren’t giving even a moderate amount of attention to teachers, but are distracted wholly, due to social media usage.
Two other reasons why social media causes much grief among students are: cyber-bullying and humiliation sharing (via social media). Let’s face it: As children develop, bullying is a problem that both boys and girls experience, throughout their youth. Throughout the history of the human race, (right now I’m referring to school aged people only) childhood cruelty from one group of children, inflicted on an unfortunate other individual child or children, is a recurring issue. The problem with the internet and social media is that bullying does not stop, once students are physically separated; but continues seemingly without end. The focus of this blog is not cyber-bullying, though within the topic at hand, (Banning Social Media in Schools to Save the Education System) cyber-bullying is certainly a point to consider.
Humiliation-sharing, is another problem school students face (as well as many other adults who are not students). Humiliation-sharing, is different than cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying is the taunting (and possibly threatening) of one student or more students, by one or more other students by way of the internet. Humiliation-sharing involves the use of Pictures, Video, Audio, of an embarrassing incident, or of the students doing/saying something inappropriate that the victim would never want exposed publicly (because it would ruin the students reputation), being posted and shared across the internet (even typed material, such as emails, can be used to humiliate someone across the internet).
For example, let’s say a group of middle school girls, aged 11-13 are in the girls locker room, getting ready for sporting practice, as an after school activity. A few girls (let’s say four) decide to photograph with their phones: two other girls outside of their clique, (the original four girls) who are in their bra and under-wear. Right after taking these pictures, each of the four girls uploads these photos to each of their social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Now a large majority of the school can see these two innocent girls in very little clothing, therefore publicly humiliating them; ruining their reputation and self-esteem. This is only a fictional example, however many situations like this happen just about every day, somewhere in the world. This would be considered humiliation-sharing and not cyber-bullying.
What is the solution to the problems listed previously? As the title of this blog suggests a great solution would be: To ban, or in other words, block social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) from computer systems of public and private schools. If the function of school systems is to prepare students to become active members of society, then overt social media usage by students (especially during school hours) makes it very difficult for that function to be a success. I am aware that it may be impossible to fully stop social media from interfering because students use their smart-phones and tablets during school hours (as much as they can manage to do so, both in and outside of classrooms). Students may attempt to study for their classes using these gadgets, but inevitably, social media becomes their main distraction.
One tool of importance I will excuse, where social media and education are concerned is: Youtube. For many teachers, viewing Youtube videos during lessons can be highly beneficial to education. If all other social media sites are blocked (within school computer systems), but Youtube is still allowed, there may still be some problems, but at least then multitude of dilemmas caused by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be greatly reduced.
You have heard before, many times over that: “Children are our future.” These four words are very easy words to understand, but the concept is quite difficult to grasp. Biologically, no one can remain a child forever. Ideally, for the previous concept to work, the intent would be to have children learning and maturing; emotionally, mentally, and socially, so that they can become active members of society. Social media (with ties to just about every website) and the current structure of the world’s education systems, do not allow for that to happen.
*Social Media, Definition of.
“Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster.com n.d. Web 09 Aug. 2015.