My Quest To Teach

June 30, 2014

Social Media Guidelines Are Increasingly Needed



Social Media Guidelines Are Increasingly Needed

Speaking to high school students for the third year that are participating
in the Learn2Earn Experience at Jacksonville University a concept
by (Jacksonville, Florida’s Mayor Alvin Brown and staff) and also to
the young ladies of Journey Into Womanhood a mentoring program
for girls teen to young adulthood, then to the City of Jacksonville
Parks and Recreation youth volunteers, then the young adults with
Family Support Services that support youth in foster care,
interacting with over 200 students from Duval and surrounding
counties participating in the Prevent Crime in the Black Community,
and with Boys and Girls Clubs in their Keystone Leadership
conference and recently with the Man Up for Health Summit it is clear
that many parents do not have Social Media rules to guide their children’s
behaviors on Social Media networks.

Educators in their classrooms, schools and districts are faced with
scrutiny and accusations for “Friending” and texting students. As an
educator teaching Engineering and Technology, using Social Media
can be a slippery slope to professional embarrassment and the potential
for administrative discipline or being fired.

Social Media is a representation of our society, just as television
has programming that is questionable in its programming or in some
cases called “brainwashing” and delivery of questionable moral and
ethical content that influences the thinking and actions of youth. Teens
and young adults. Social Media allows access to unfiltered content
that can challenge a parents teaching of morals, values, ethics and
behavioral accountability and responsibility.

Parents when talking to their children about their viewing and interaction
of Social Media content should emphasize that their children’s content
on Social Media should be appropriate and positive. The use of content
to be applied that allows for engagement that is positive and productive.
Because of the digital nature of the Internet when content is created it
never goes away. It is house, backed-up, stored and reused in multiple
ways.

Encouraging the over 100 students in attendance with the Learn2Earn
Experience to understand that their Social Media content creates a
perception that precedes their physical presence to future employers,
potential providers of internships, earning scholarships and even
entering into military service. Social Media can be a dynamic platform of
collaboration, informational engagement and create an atmosphere of
beneficial connectivity, but because it is digital there is the loss of the
“human element” of a physical connection, perceptions can be wrong.

Even in schools Social Media has a foothold for content and
information sharing. Teachers must be careful in “friending” students
and their teaching peers, sharing pictures and video with them
because sharing of content can be mis-understood, inappropriate
statements can be shared, social stigmas created and misconceptions
about students can be created.
Teachers and administrators are experiencing the drama associated
with Social Media from students created content; the Florida Department
of Education offers no concrete guidance on the use of social media,
stated by Deborah Higgins an attorney practicing in Florida. School
districts themselves have addressed the issue with 67 school districts
statewide and forty of them do not have a policy.
Teachers are denied through school networks access to Facebook,
YouTube and other popular sites are blocked on school districts’
computers and devices.

As I talk to students and teachers researching how other districts handle
the Social Media issue, some Florida administrators have embraced
the concept, but with caution. Administrators like Beth Brown, principal
of Dr. John Long Middle School in Pasco county states, students are
“a technology-savvy generation,” and “educators have to learn to live
in that world too,” she said. “It is important that we have to embrace it,”
“but that doesn’t mean you’ll find principals and teachers friending students.”

The issue has grown so contested that free speech is cited against districts
that ban Social Media access by educators. One example is in Santa Rosa
County that rescinded its policy restricting teachers from writing on their
personal networks after the teachers union threatened to sue. Other districts
like Manatee County have faced similar legal challenges that ban teachers
from posting comments or pictures. This debate nationally will continue.

Whether it is a school district or in a home environment all parties should
be cautious about their content, postings in pictures and video and who
they friend. When speaking to students we have a deep discussion
involving cases of who students are associated with, the term I use is
“Guilt by Association.” Your associations create a perception of your
potential actions and this could be beneficial or harmful depending on
the content your friends, family and others that are associated with you
on Social Media networks.

Parents should be diligent in setting expectations with their children about
their actions, setting guidelines in sharing personal and family information
online. Being proactive in talking about cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and
even Sexting that has serious legal consequences. Parents have to
understand and embrace the 21st century use of technology beyond a
communication tool; it creates a paradigm of and for sharing information
without the physical connections.

As an educator, parent and blogger I caution when I speak with either
teachers, parents or students; to think carefully before posting pictures,
does the whole world need to see or read this? Will pictures or video create
future issues when looking for employment, advancement or who they are
involved with? Think about whom you are texting and can that text be
taken out of content? Teachers should not be “Friends” with students on
personal pages and caution on school pages. Teachers should be careful
with taking pictures with students off school grounds and even more so in
their classrooms. Teachers should check to see if their district has a media
policy for posting pictures and even check to see if their school has one as well.

When I talk to teachers, I emphasis if you have any doubts then don’t
post….. use common sense. Jean Clements, president of the Hillsborough
Classroom Teachers Association states, “Everybody has a right to privacy
and a right to free speech,” she said. “But when you are in certain situations,
you’ve got to know that there are people in the world who could hurt your
profession and your career.”
Once you’re involved in Social Media networks your private life in some ways
becomes un-private. Always check privacy settings, be diligent about what
you post online and be reminded that even phishing attacks, viruses, malware
and spyware are on social platforms.

School districts are under pressure to develop Social Media policies beyond
denying or having limited access by educators and administrators. Student
access must be addressed as parents use Social Media to communicate with
their children as increased episodes of violence are growing on campuses
from elementary to higher education environments.

Social Media platforms are growing, evolving and changing the way
information is shared. Instead of just the physical village there are digital
villages that have influence on children. Some of these villages are
not productive and do not have children’s, youth, teens and young
adults needs in their best interests. Parents need to be proactive in
their investigation and communication with their children.

Social Media Role:
#AfAmEdChat, #BlackEdu, #BlackEducator, #BlackTwitter, #BlerdChat, #Blerds, #Blogging, #DuvalSchools, #E3CelebratesFathers: #AfAmEdSummit, #Educationrevival, #HBCUNation, #ILoveJax, #Jax_Florida, #Jax_Florida @urbanjax @jaxlibrary @JaxBusinessNews ; @metroj, #SocialMedia, @AAMitchem, @CNN, @EducationFL, @EducationFL @MyFLFamilies, @EducatorsSpin, @FareedZakaria, @fatherhoodgov: @AfAmEducation, @FLBlogCon, @FLBlue, @floridachannel, @floridatheatre, @Hall4Students, @JacksonvilleMag, @JaxBusinessNews, @JaxDailyRecord, @jaxlibrary @JaxBusinessNews, @jaxlibrary @jax_just_in @JacksonvilleMag, @jax_just_in, @JDRFNorthFL, @metroj, @MrDavidJohns, @MyFLFamilies, @NaturallyMoi1, @NicheParent, @NPR, @SaveOurSchools #FlBlogCon, @sorority1908; #AKA1908; @advise1908; @StarJonesEsq; @akasorority1908 ; #BlackEdu, @StateImpactFl, @TeachForAll, @TeenHealthGov, @urbanjax, @vicmicolucci, @VISITFLORIDA_es, @Visit_Jax ; @VISITFLORIDA_es

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