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Dilemmas of Social Media and Education -1-

Dilemmas of Social Media and Education DeBorah Smith Mississippi College

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Today administrators, teachers, students, and parents are embracing social media more than ever before. Social media has become an efficient communication tool to connect with parents and the community. Teachers are utilizing social media to enhance instruction and administrators are conducting professional developments and staff meetings by means of social medias (Schachter, 2011). Social media has added to the advancement of teaching and learning, but there have also been many repercussions. Many educators are not aware of the laws associated with social networking and personal actions outside of the schoolhouse. The United States Supreme Court states that neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate (Belch, 201112). Every state has its own laws for what teachers and school employees can do outside the schoolhouse. Legal protection to school employees often is negated when the employee decides to make his or her life public by the use of social networking. School employees are to remain professional when they are posting personal information on social medias for all to see and have access to. Fellow colleagues, district personnel, administrators, parents, students, and anyone in the community can have access to information on social medias. The safety of students has caused many school districts to create technology policies that detail filtering and limitations of the internet. These policies are adopted to protect students and staff from sexual assaults, cyber bullying and other inapposite activity that can happen on the internet (Schachter,2011) In 2001, the federal Childrens Internet Protection Act (CIPA) mandated that school districts have policies about internet access. The policies addressed students viewing invasive content on the internet and on social medias (Pierce, 2012). Other common reasons that school districts have chosen not to allow students to social network at school is to deter students from engaging in any inappropriate content, or becoming involve with

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sexual predators. Cyber bullying and harassment of students has also caused school districts to adhere to CIPA policies (Pierce, 2012). According to Pierce (2012), CIPA requires that school districts policies address access by minors to inappropriate matter on the internet, the safety and security of minors when using emails, chat rooms, and other forms of direct communications. School districts must also address unauthorized access, unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information and measures restricting minors access to materials harmful to them (Pierce, 2012). Educators who are not careful with the use of internet sites and social medias can engage in inappropriate behaviors and relationships with students or post unsuitable pictures and information. Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) mandates guidelines for internet use in schools. The policy was established to protect students from harmful material and it permits them to utilize beneficial and appropriate websites (Pierce, 2012). According to (Belch, 2011-12), many teachers are under the assumption that their behaviors on social networks can not affect their job status. A school district in Salt Lake City, Utah has guidelines that do not prohibit teachers from using social network sites, but students should not be able to access them. Lee County Public Schools in Florida states that it is inappropriate for teachers to communicate with students or become friendly with them on social networks. The district also advises teachers to be mindful when posting pictures and comments on social networks (Belch, 2011-12). Social media has become a trendy activity for school age children of today. Social media has been a vital role in the everyday lives of many people in the world. Many people who use social media are still in school and many school districts have not implemented internet policies.

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There are many advantages of using social media but students should be taught to be cautious of sexual predators, cyber bullies, and harrassers. School districts play a vital role in exposing students to the laws and guidelines of proper use of the internet and social medias.

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References Belch, H. (2011-2012) Teachers Beware: The Dark Side of Social Networking. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39, 15-19. Pierce, M. (2012). Equal Measure: Shielding Students and Enabling Access. T.H.E.Journal,3640. Schachter, R. (2011) Social Media Dilemma. District Administration.