Digital Citizenship – 577

In 2019 students are exposed and have access to thousands of people every second of every day. Just 10 years ago this was not the case. Social media has changed the world of teaching from as young as 3rdgrade and only escalates as children get older. Bullying no longer takes places in the hallway or the gym, it is behind the dim blue light of an iPhone screen that children are destroying each other. Due to this anonymity of social media children can be tearing down a student right in front of adults and we can be missing it. This is why it is so crucial to teach digital citizenship. Children today need to understand that the need to be a compassionate good human being does not disappear when they log in. The social media wave came on fast and maybe without the intention of the impact it had, “But it has become glaringly apparent that the companies never quite understood the negative consequences of that influence nor what to do about it — and that they cannot put the genie back in the bottle” (Sheera Frenkel, 2018). Sites such as Twitter and Facebook give anyone a platform to share whatever they like. While there are some guidelines and rules put in place by this media companies it is difficult to police the millions of posts that go out each day. In regards to Twitter, “only 38 percent of hate speech on its site was flagged by its internal systems”(Sheera Frenkel, 2018). 38% is not enough, but instead of creating more technology to take it down, should we be teaching people not to post it? Once a post has gone up it can get thousands of like, shares and comments in seconds this is beauty and curse of social media. This means that even if 10,000 more people are looking for the posts, as Frenkel says, it’s always too late. It only takes 1 click to send it to thousands of viewers and the hate is already spread. This is the climate of the world today and the change begins in our classrooms, “Digital Citizenship is an ongoing lesson that needs to be addressed every year with every student. Social media is not going away, and blocking websites in schools or telling students they cannot use phones is not a realistic solution” (The teaching factor, 2018). 

THE TEACHING FACTOR, November 7th2018. 

Sheera Frenkel, M. I. (2018). On Instagram, 11,696 Examples of How Hate Thrives on Social Media. The New York Times .

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