In today’s day and age, we often look towards the younger generations for advice on how to use technology.
Having trouble with your new smart phone? Ask any teenager on the block, they can give you a demo. Can’t make your interactive white board work? Chances are, one of your students can figure it out. However, just because teens are savvy at using these electronic devices doesn’t mean they know how to use them well. Teens often don’t think about what their online/mobile activity looks like outside of their friend circle.
Here are four things that schools can do to educate students, families and faculty on proper social media usage, and serve as a go-to resource for their communities:
1. Set a Social Media Policy for the School
Step One is to decide what your school’s stance on social media is, and how the school plans to deal with usage, on campus and off.
2. Designate a Social Media “Guru”
Pick a member of your faculty/staff who is a regular user of social media and exhibits responsible usage, and make them your Social Media Guru. Support your Guru through professional development so he/she can stay up on the latest trends, changing policies and features, and best use practices. This person will be a great resource for both the School and the greater school community.
3. Hold Social Media Workshops for the Students and Parents
Teens, and even adults, aren’t always up on the details of online safety and privacy. For teens, it probably isn’t even on their radar. To better educate both students and their families (possibly teachers too), schools can offer workshops that cover basic privacy settings, how the internet functions and how information is stored, what it means to have a digital identity and the “laws” of social media. This is where your Guru can come in handy. The Guru can:
- Walk folks through the Facebook privacy settings (and other applicable outlets) and explain what it all means
- Show them the potential path of a tweet as it gets re-tweeted over and over
- Debunk social media myths
- Answer questions
- Get the conversation started and keep it going
4. Offer “Social Media Tutoring”
The bottom line is, we all want to be safe online and we want our children to be safe online. Your Guru can serve as a “Social Media Tutor” for parents and students, offering families personal tutoring that walks them through setting up online profiles, monitoring online activity, understanding privacy settings and using social media responsibly.
The basic idea here is to keep your community educated and informed. The more you know and can share with your constituents, the better it is for the entire community.