Social Media in the Classroom // A Concerned Parent & Teacher
Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate and connect with people. In the last 15 years the use of social media has skyrocketed. In the US alone, the use of social media amongst adults has increased a staggering 74% from 2005 to 2019! Social media is a part of our daily lives and our students have grown up using some type of social media platform. There is no escaping it and we don’t foresee social media going anywhere anytime soon. Instead of forbidding it in our classrooms we should utilize the power social media has and use it for good in our classrooms.
The integration of social media may create some backlash from parents. Parents may think it is a waste of valuable curriculum time, instigate cyberbullying, or put the privacy and safety of children at risk. However, if used correctly, the use of social media can help build critical thinking skills, strengthen writing, and help students learn digital citizenship. Like it or not, students will use social media whether it is part of the curriculum or not. If teachers integrate it into their daily practice they have the power to properly educate students to use the internet and social media in a way that does not harm them or others.
Dear: Mrs. Purple,
Tonight over dinner Johnny shared with his father and I that your class will be using Instagram in class. I have several concerns over this matter. Firstly, I am concerned with his safety. I have heard some very troubling stories about the use of social media amongst young children. I have fears of strangers following him online and finding the location of the school and hurting him. Additionally, I recently watched an episode of Dr. Phil where people were saving pictures of children online from Facebook and photoshopping the pictures of the children and distributing them online. This is very scary! It is for this reason that my husband and I refuse to sign up on any social media platform. We do not want images of our child to be distributed and put his life in danger. My next concern is how much time is this going to take away from the curriculum? How is this even related to the curriculum? My final concern is that this will put him in danger of cyberbullying. What if classmates start sending him harassing messages? I have read that many students are victims of cyberbullying. Much of it is instigated by fellow classmates who hide behind their computers.
I have already spoken to 4 other parents and they share the same concerns. I am sure there are many other parents that share the same concern. I hope we can come to an agreement for an alternate activity.
Thank you for your time.
Subject: Re: Instagram
Dear Mrs. Doolittle,
I am very glad you are coming to me with these concerns as I know the internet can be a very intimidating and scary place. A few parents and guardians have also voiced their concerns with me and I would love to answer all of your questions. With this being said I am going to host a “Welcome to Instagram” night on Wednesday, March 4th. I really hope you and your husband are both able to attend as I feel it will lessen some of your worries about Instagram being implemented into our Grade 6 classroom.
The workshop will include:
Covering our schools’ policies on Social Media.
Digital Citizenship - how to use technology safely and responsibly
What is our goal? And why are we implementing it into our classroom?
How the students and I will be interacting using this tool.
How parents and guardians can participate.
All of these will be curated into a take-home package as well so you have time to talk as a family and get back to me with any more concerns. Hope to see you there!
Before integrating Instagram into your classroom, consider these questions to see if it is the right fit for you and your students:
Below is a permission slip I created using Canva that teachers can use if they want to include Instagram in the classroom.