How is your school handling student use of social media and streaming services?
Some schools in B.C. have banned specific apps (see Maple Ridge School District article). They have banned Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Netflix. On the other side of Canada, the Toronto School District, has also been struggling with the issue of how to deal with students and social media. Last spring, they estimated that between 20-30% of their educational bandwidth was being used up by students on social media and streaming videos. In September, they renewed their ban on Netflix, Snapchat and Instagram. While some students were reported to be using VPN apps to work around the ban, these bans, in my opinion are a start. Some research has shown that rules that limit student’s activity rather than the context are easier to manage for both parents and school administrators.
I support these schools attempting to establish some limits to online access, if not for their server demands, then to at least establish a limited consumption environment for students’ online use. Current technologies and online devices are designed to be as compulsive as possible. As adults, many of us struggle to manage all the sensory input we receive each day. Students, at their various stages of their biological, cognitive, emotional and social development are having their crucial sensory, tactile, visual and temporal information bumped by the immediacy of being online—getting that next peer validation or update on a drama.
If you, as educators, can limit these distractions, however imperfectly, in order to allow space for the real learning and interactions you know they need, then I believe it’s worth a shot.
If you, as parents, can understand and reinforce good on and offline balance and prioritize interpersonal development, your children will be that much better off.
We have gone beyond the novelty of how much online culture we can consume. I believe we must start being far more conscious of how much, where and with whom we are consuming it.
I’ve got information to help.
Click this link to find information about our school based internet safety presentation for students, parents and teachers and have me come to your school this year. I’ve been delivering these messages for the last fifteen years throughout British Columbia and beyond, and I remain committed to bringing you up-to-date, well-grounded and respectful internet safety education.