I recently read an article with the sub-title “Facebook, other sites evolving faster than school rules can address” in which they discuss the ways schools use discipline, policies and guidelines to enforce what is acceptable and not acceptable when it comes to what student post on social media web sites.
While I agree that schools need policies and guidelines to help them govern their schools, as the article points out – – Technology is ahead of the laws and ethics… the world of technology is changing quicker than we can keep up.
We cannot enter into an arms race with students, blocking web sites doesn’t work. There are numerous proxy sites available, new sites like Chatroulette are popping up every day which slip through content filters. As more and more students have Internet enabled mobile devices students can simply bypass any network protocols put in place because quite simply there’s an “App for that!”
So what can schools do? Teach.
These are all “teachable moments”. Talk to your students about what it means to be responsible citizens in their communities, whether those communities are virtual or not.
Take time in your homerooms, advisor periods, and school assemblies or in any venue that is appropriate to discuss these issues and topics. We need to understand that this is the world that our students live and as educators we need to help guide them through it and help them understand the choices that they make, good or bad.
Content filters, policies and guideline aren’t the final answer. If we are to have our students become true citizens we need to it though teaching.