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Running Head: SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 1

Social Networking as it Pertains to K-5 Students

Anna Brown
Jill Woodie
Ricky Tsui
Sena Parks
Shelley Scott-Johnson

EDUC 639 D01 Liberty University

Dr. Jennifer Courduff

April 24, 2017
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 2

Abstract

This paper is a review of the use of technology in early education, as it is essential to lifelong

learning. This review looks into forms of social networking currently being used by children in

kindergarten through fifth grades and the effects this is having on our students. The reader will

learn how schools can help protect our students through the use of Acceptable Use Policies and

Digital Citizenship Education. It also will touch on the parent or guardian role in technology

education outside of the learning environment, and enforcement of school rules in technology

use at home. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all schools as well as parents or guardians to

provide the child an appropriate education in respectful and responsible technology use.

Keywords: social media, Skype, blogging, privacy, Acceptable Use Policy, parent

responsibility, technology, digital citizenship, intervention
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 3

Social Networking as it Pertains to K-5 Students

The purpose of this study is to present a review of literature organized into topics leading

to the implications of having children, as young as kindergarten, using social media on our ever-

changing society now and in the future. The review will begin with an introduction behind

social networking as it pertains to K-5 students. Next, the review will discuss different social

media platforms. The following section will discuss the benefits to incorporating social media

platforms, such as Skype and blogging in the classroom. The succeeding topic will study

concerns surrounding social media, such as privacy. The final section will examine acceptable

use policies and the importance behind parent responsibility.

Review of Literature

As educators, we spend most of our days with our students, of that day a large part is

spent with them using some sort of technology. We may use desktops, laptops, Chromebooks, or

iPads but no matter what we are using our students are exposed to a variety of technologies

within their educational time. More and more we are all seeing a growth in the number of

younger children using social media, they may be sharing things to their parents Facebook pages,

creating videos for YouTube, or even buying things on Amazon through the use of technologies

like Alexa.

“Changes in media use, and widespread internet use, have drastically altered childhood

experiences. For young children, electronic media are part of the landscape and contexts of their

lives. The ubiquity of the internet and new online technologies, in particular, permeates all

aspects of children’s lives.” (Heider, 2015, p.447)
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 4

The thesis statement behind the creation of this research and paper is that in today's

society, technology is unavoidable, by teaching digital citizenship at an early age, students will

be responsible and respectful of their privacy and of others while participating in a social

network. Our literature review will look into the implications of having children, as young as

kindergarten, using social media on our ever-changing society now and in the future. The

questions that will be answered include:

1) As educators should we encourage our young students to use social media, in any form,

while in elementary school? If so, which types of social media and why those in

particular?

2) Is there a good way to intervene now in their use and create a generation of responsible

social media users? Is there a bad way to intervene now in their use and create a

generation of irresponsible social media users?

3) Can we put our faith in this generation to overcome the pitfalls that the current one has

created with their misuse of what could be a very powerful tool if used in the correct

ways?

Once these questions are answered through our review of various forms of literature, we will

have a better understanding of how educators need to approach this topic with their students in

mind.

As educators should we encourage our young students to use social media, in any form,

while in elementary school? If so, which types of social media and why those in particular?

Social Media Platforms

The Internet revolutionizes how knowledge is delivered in every aspect of education. It

opens the world for all users to learn from each other by sharing their knowledge (Bonk, 2009).
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 5

Social media networking is one of the platforms for the exchange of ideas and information

between students with professors, authors and experts directly. Besides, social networking can

offer paid service for mentoring and coaching. Users can get support immediately and learning

become personalized and interactive.

Barbour and Plough (2012) created a closed social network media platform to examine

the effectiveness in increasing socializing in a full-time online school and in decreasing

transactional distance. In the first and second phase, 60 students were selected to participate in

the study. On third phase, 321 students and 12 teachers were involved to test the social network.

The result showed that the social network was successfully motivating academic activities for

students such as course planning, participation and discussing of academic challenges. In

addition, students used the network to form interest groups and created nonacademic groups to

discuss development of youth adults. Therefore, this closed social network provided a platform

for students and teachers to increase their interaction and to discuss both schooling and personal

experience with one another.

Applying social media networking to teach third grade math class study was conducted to

determine if such activity will stimulate students’ learning motivation (Chen, 2013). There was

no empirical data recorded in the study. The study was conducted by creating a math trail on

Google Buzz for students to work on seven math problems and submitted in through Buzz

individually. The teachers would find out the common mistakes they made and discuss it with

them. In this study, Buzz played a role of information filter and navigation for teacher to

identify students’ misconception in math. Not only can math be incorporated with social media

networking, other academic subjects can also be integrated to enhance the learning experience of

students - especially if one can combine it with multimedia or interactive programs.
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 6

Leland, Ociepka & Kuonen (2012) conducted a research to find out how effective 18

eighth graders learn to pay more attention of their online actions in a language art curriculum.

The study was done in two phases. In the first phase, a survey was given to each student to

gather information about their behavior in the social network, MySpace. Then teachers designed

seven invitations with articles about how others used MySpace inappropriately and inhumanely

to ask them to reflect on those improper behaviors. In the second phase, Think.com was used to

create a closed social network for students to interact with their teacher and peers. The result

from the first phase was many students admitted their misused in MySpace such as telling lies,

spreading gossip and making fun of others. In the second phase, the results concluded students

felt they were closer in relationship with their classmates and able to learn a lot from each other

by interacting in the closed networking. This study showed that proper online behavior needed

to be taught earlier to students and participatory culture could be achieved through social media

networking. Most importantly, students were learning from everyone in the closed community

including the most soft-spoken one.

The use of social networking services (SNSs) by children under the age of 13 was

examined by surveying 199 students, ages 7-13 from grade three to six (Weeden, Cooke &

McVey, 2013). Each participant was given a survey with 12 questions with personal information

and their habit in using social network. Despite age 13 being the legal age to register for social

networking, 18% indicated that they started their social networking experience at age nine.

Studies showed, 80 out of 199 students misrepresented their actual age when creating the social

networking account. Seventy-five percent of the students that not yet used social networking

services understood that strangers could access their information and 64% knew strangers could

view their images. This study shows that a significant number of participants misrepresented
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 7

their actual age to join the social network and were willing to freely admit their lie. Schools

need to introduce online safety into school curricula as early as grade three to prepare students

with the right concept in social networking services.

Skype

Using Skype, K-5 students become more aware of the possibilities behind video-based

social networking. In the classroom, there are several advantages to using Skype. Financially,

Skype is the better choice for schools because it is a free service (Morgan, 2013). Field trip

expenses such as paying for a bus driver would also not be an issue. At the elementary school

level, video-based social networking can also provide students with opportunities to interact and

connect with individuals from around the world. Establishing a global connection can benefit

students by helping them learn a new language and to provide opportunities to explore a different

culture (Morgan, 2013). Teachers can also use Skype to conduct interactive sessions with guest

speakers. Authors Who Skype is a website teachers can utilize in the classroom. The website

lists over 150 authors who are willing to have a twenty minute Skype session with a class

(Morgan, 2013). “While using Skype can be advantageous, teachers need to remember that if

they use this software only for the sake of introducing new technology, it will lead to few if any

academic benefits” (Morgan, 2013, p. 199). Exposing students to a new technology used

purposely will ultimately benefit a student academically. “Using Skype in the classroom also

allows students to become aware of a new technology and to learn how to use it” (Morgan, 2013,

p. 197). When using Skype, teachers and students must be prepared. If students are involved in

a Skype session with an author, the students should have read the book. In addition, it would be

beneficial for students to come prepared to the session with questions (Morgan, 2013). If a

teacher or student is not prepared, instruction time will be wasted. By exposing students at an
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 8

early age to the possibilities of video-based social networking, this also prepares students for

responsibility outside of technology - responsibility in all aspects of education. Being prepared

is essential to a good education.

Blogging

Blogging at the elementary school level can fulfill different purposes both in and out of

the classroom. In the K-5 classroom, integrating blogs can lead to many possibilities for parent

involvement. Creating a class blog can ensure parents are informed of activities taking place in

their child’s class. “The class blog gives parents an opportunity to talk to their children about

what they are exploring” (Davison, 2013, p. 26). Class blogs create opportunities for parents to

communicate with their child which ultimately opens to the doors for meaningful conversations.

Using Kidblog, teachers can set up individual student blog pages. “Kidblog provides teachers

with the tools to help students publish writing safely online. Students exercise digital citizenship

within a secure classroom blogging space. Teachers can monitor all activity within their blogging

community” (Safe & Simple Blogs for Your Students, 2017). By involving the parents,

educators will not only open the lines of communication, but the parents will also have the

opportunity to take responsibility for their child’s online behavior. As Davison (2013) states,

“Blogging also creates an opportunity for students to learn to become safe and responsible digital

citizens” (p. 28).

K-5 students can post text, images, videos, and websites to blogs (Luongo and Finetti,

2013). Blogging can increase student collaboration as well as improve student writing skills.

Luongo and Finetti (2013) state, “Students can use the blog as a place where they can work to

further develop writing or other skills with the advantage of an audience” (p. 26). Not only can

the teacher incorporate text-based blogs, the teacher can also integrate image and video-based
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blogs. For example, the teacher could ask students to post an image illustrating monochromatic

colors. By doing so, the teacher is able to see if the student understands what monochromatic

colors are, and this type of post could also be used as a teaching opportunity. What images are

appropriate to post to a blog? When should I cite my sources when using images and/or videos

found on the internet? Blogging provides opportunities to engage the student learning as well as

providing the child with an appropriate education in respectful and responsible technology use.

Is there a good way to intervene now in their use and create a generation of responsible

social media users? Is there a bad way to intervene now in their use and create a generation

of irresponsible social media users?

Privacy

The use of social media and technology among young children has astronomically

increased over years. Time spent on the Internet among 2 to 11 year-olds increased 63% from

2004-2009 (Barone, 2012). Children are accessing the Internet on a daily basis via computers,

mobile devices, and wearable tech to interact with other people via social media platforms, play

interactive games, and watch videos. Most of this interaction and activity occurs without

parental supervision. With nearly one in ten children receiving a mobile device, such as a

smartphone, by age five, today’s youth are the new digital natives (Dotterer, Hedges, &

Harrison, 2016). This increasing use of technology and social media, students, faculty, and

parents must become cognizant of the responsibility and privacy guidelines associated with

appropriately using these platforms, therein, the integration of digital citizenship.

Digital citizenship is the norm of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to

technology use (Ribble, 2012). Digital Citizenship has become a necessity and is now a

requirement by the government or schools may risk losing funding. In 2008, the International
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 10

Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) updated its standards to include digital citizenship.

There are nine elements of digital citizenship to include digital access, digital commerce, digital

communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities,

digital health and wellness, and digital security. These elements provide a scaffold for

addressing the needs that are arising with respect to technology in schools (Ribble, 2012).

Schools and districts must provide guidance on how to use technology appropriately, and faculty

must integrate the standards into their lessons. Students who are digitally literate know how to

effectively use technology to collaborate, create original content, and conduct in-depth research

for academic purposes (Dotterer, Hedges, and Parker, 2016).

Privacy and protection of children is also necessary when they are posting on social

media and various websites. In a virtual environment, there exists a feeling that users can act in

ways they would not in real situations, because in a virtual environment the technology permits

them to do so and because the controls relating to this technology are not so pronounced or

enforced as are the controls in a real environment (Burridge, 2010). Children are not aware they

put themselves at risk when they share personal information over the Internet. They need to be

taught how to keep it private. They need to be taught how to create safe usernames and

passwords and parents need to be taught how to set parental controls.

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was enacted by Congress in 2000. It

addresses placing measures in place to protect children from accessing obscene or harmful

content over the Internet. Schools subject to CIPA have two additional certification

requirements: 1) their Internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of

minors; and 2) as required by the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, they must provide

for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 11

individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and

response. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) imposes certain requirements

on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on

operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting

personal information online from a child under 13 years of age. Students must be encouraged to

become self-directed and to manage and monitor their own learning appropriate to the task and

their ability (Garrison & Anderson, 2003).

Acceptable Use Policy

When having students and their parents be involved with social networking in the

educational setting, it is important to have an Acceptable Use Policy in place. Ensuring that they

(today’s youth) understand the implications, consequences, and best practices for engaging with

technology and social media is critical to safeguarding their well-being and to their developing

workplace skills (Dotterer, Hedges, & Parker, 2016). A lot of technology is quite misunderstood

because the virtual environment is much different than actual, real life environment. Once

online, individuals are able to change and be more outspoken and more app to mingle around the

web to figure things out. In a virtual environment, there exists a feeling that users can act in

ways they wouldn’t in real situations, because in a virtual environment the technology permits

them to do so and because the controls relating to this technology are not so pronounced or

enforced as are the controls in a real environment – e.g., the prevalence of youngsters stealing

records/DVDs from a store was not as great as youngsters stealing music from websites by

downloading it without payment (Ribble, 2009).

Guidelines should be set in place by the district or school that need to be followed

throughout the year at school and at home when it comes to participating with technology with
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anything relating to school. The Acceptable Use Policy should include limitations and best

practices in using technology to ensure safety and compliance with the law for both families and

schools. This being put into place will help best ensure the safety of the elementary aged

children while they are being able to get their feet wet with learning using technology. Letting

students know at a young age that there are rules online will help to spread the word to their

families and potentially instill in them lifelong understanding of what to do and what not to do

online making them good digital citizens.

Parent Responsibility

It is no surprise that parents are initiating the use of technology with their children. In

public, you can see many toddlers “using” technology as a means to keep them entertained.

Although many younger aged students feel comfortable with technology, it is still the parent's’

job to help make sure that they are using the technology correctly. The younger generation has

been described in one study as digital natives, young people who have grown up around digital

technologies and seem to instinctively understand them, and the older generation is being

described as digital immigrants, new to technology, possibly fascinated by the new technology,

and adopters of many aspects but lacking an instinctive aptitude (Dotterer, Hedges, & Parker,

2016). Teachers are a great start to helping parents get involved with their child’s journey with

technology.

Parents should be involved with their child when they go online and make sure that what

they are doing to legal and productive. Research shows that children that use digital media are

able to learn in any place at any given time. This ease of learning is excellent for children and

mobile technology and being able to learn on the go with parents and not just at home or school.

Communication is easy to engage in and the newest technologies support children’s
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 13

communication skills (Barone, 2012). In Barone’s study, it was also shown that parents were

able to communicate with their children more and talk about what the child was doing with their

technology or on the internet. By having that type of communication with your child about

something that they enjoy leads to good social interactions with them and helps the child build

their vocabulary.

Can we put our faith in this generation to overcome the pitfalls that the current one has

created with their misuse of what could be a very powerful tool if used in the correct ways?

The review has shown that yes, we can put our faith in this generation to use the internet

in the way it was intended, a way to work together as one community to better ourselves and

others. There is much research and analysis that must be completed before educators will feel

completely safe allowing full use of the internet by their elementary students. A few of the steps

that need to be taken are discussed in the next section of this review.

Next Steps

The literature review revealed several themes regarding the implications of having

children, as young as kindergarten, using social media on our ever-changing society now and in

the future. The first finding of age filtering not being effective was very eye opening, even

though most social media outlets do require a minimum age of 13 for anyone to sign up for their

services children of varying ages well below 13 have full access. There is no real way of

guaranteeing age requirements are being met. Also, many parents are giving their children

permission to give a false birthdate in order to have an account. These accounts are not being

monitored by the parents, leading to a lot of misuse by the children.

Blogging was the next finding that needs more research. The use of effective blogs in a

classroom environment is very encouraging, this opens doors for many new ways to introduce
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 14

students to the world around them. Blogs appear to be a much safer way for students, teachers,

and parents to interact in the educational system. Research needs to be done on how blogs can

be used more extensively in classrooms as well how they can be monitored closely by school IT

departments to ensure protection of students.

Acceptable Use Policies must be reviewed by all educational entities yearly, as

technology is ever evolving these policies must evolve as well. Research needs to be completed

on what makes a policy the most effective and what does not necessarily need to be included.

Also, there needs to be further research into how to better hold parents responsible for their

child's technology use in the school settings. Though these policies are signed by parents, and

are supposed to be enforceable, they are not being truly enforced in the schools, they are serving

as a scare tactic and not a lawful agreement.

In conclusion, by teaching digital citizenship at an early age, students will be responsible

and respectful of their privacy and of others while participating in a social network. They will be

the leaders in a movement to recreate the way technology and social media are used in

educational settings, therefore spurring change worldwide. These students will bring about the

changes that we are all wishing for but unable to achieve at this time, due to a late start in digital

citizenship education for anyone that is not currently elementary aged. It will take time, but the

internet can and will become a better entity for all who take advantage of the great things it

provides.
SOCIAL NETWORKING AS IT PERTAINS TO K-5 STUDENTS 15

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