Social Media: The New High School Drama?

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When I was in high school, Facebook was the king (or queen) of all social media sites. If you wanted to be seen as someone with a social life, you had a Facebook.  After an exhausting 7-8 hour day of school, you would go home and relax a little by posting on your friend’s Facebook wall with bumper stickers using Facebook’s Bumper Sticker feature (that was my favorite!).  Now fast forward a couple years, it’s not just about Facebook anymore. My 16-year-old brother has a Twitter and Facebook account and my 14-year-old cousin has an Instagram account (I don’t even have that! Yes I know I am a little behind).

Social media sites have intertwined with the lives of students greatly over the past couple years.  The increase of social media usage among students has caused a concern in some schools and they might have a reason to be (low grades, reduced learning, cyber bullying).

(Did you hear about the teacher in Pittsburgh having a pictured posted on Facebook of her with a stripper?).  Social media usage among teachers has also increased.  Many students are Facebook friends with their teacher or might be following them on Twitter.  So how should schools deal this?  Some schools across the U.S. have their own way of handling social media.

I know that my old high school now provides each of their students with Apple MacBook Air laptop computers (where was this when I was there?!) on the condition that students are only allowed to access pre-approved websites (not social media sites).  Some schools across the country have a strict policy where teachers are not allowed to friend or follow their students on any social media site.  While other schools are more lenient with their social media policies, it is part of the norm in some schools for teachers and students to be connected through social media.  Students communicate with their teachers via social media when they have a question about an assignment.  Social media is a part of today’s culture that we cannot easily take away from our youth.  Do you think schools should implement a policy on social media usage?  What should it contain?  Is it necessary?