We all have recently heard and read the controversial issue surrounding the Blue Whale challenge – an online game that provokes children to harm themselves and eventually end their lives. The game has spurred discussions about the use of social media in schools across the nation. Instead of turning a blind eye, ain’t it possible that it should become part of the curriculum? And further, the schools should discuss pros and cons of social media with students and parents. Putting a ban on the teaching of social media in schools will be of no use because in upcoming 10 years, it will be as common as teaching computer languages in schools.
It is now, and will continue to be a social world. The top 5 social media sites combined have nearly 2 BILLION users. From the research studies, it has been revealed that on an average, smartphone users check their Facebook status 14 times per day. 79% check their smartphone for social media updates within 15 minutes of waking up. In the coming years, the growth of social media and smartphone users is expected to grow two fold and much more. 80% of college faculty members now use social media and a full 50% of college professors say they use it in their classrooms.
While there are endless controversies on the ways the students waste time with social media, nobody is arguing that you can use social media to engage and learn in interesting new ways. So, the argument that teaching social media to our students is a waste of time because it will fade out soon – is useless. Even if Facebook or twitter disappears or if we no longer call it social media, the idea of using the Internet to connect the planet on digital networks will not go away anytime soon. Social media has become an integral part of how today’s generation communicates. Even if a school bans it from the classroom, the child is going to access it outside the school premises.
Although parents and schools might have succeeded in keeping children safe physically, they are vulnerable on social media. Depression rate has shot up due to trolling and cyber bullying. This clearly lays emphasis that the children are physically safe, but they are not safe from the virtual world.
Social media helps students to relieve stress during and after exams. For teachers, they provide barrier-free access to professional development resources. There are many schools which use social media groups to communicate with parents; however, it is restricted only to sending circulars and complaints related to school fees.
These are the reasons why schools must include social media in their curriculum. Institutes must educate children and their parents on how to use social media. If that is done, we can keep them safe from dangers such as the Blue Whale challenge and others. But for the same, schools need to get acquainted with all forms of social media platforms as it is beneficial for students and parents.
To compete in the workforce and in the global economy our children must learn how to correctly and safely use social media.