The digital age has brought many advances that have connected us globally like never before. Among the advantages to educators are the expansive resources now available to them that can enrich the learning environment, engage and motivate students and offer more convenient modes of communication to everyone. Benefits range from having access to resources such as the YouTube for Schools service, which delivers hundreds of age-appropriate education videos to schools all over the country, to the ability for individual teachers to set up their own classroom blogs or websites, where they have a venue for posting announcements and homework assignments and in general, establishing a forum for communicating with students on and off-campus.
However, social media sites also have a more ominous side. Stories of minor students being exposed to inappropriate material, sexual predators, and bullying and harassment by peers are becoming all too common.
This white paper attempts to explain the issues surrounding social networking among K-12 students and discusses some of the risks schools are facing as they try and contend with the virtually unanimous participation in social media among students. It will examine statistics around student use of social media technology and present some of the risks involved, including cyberbullying. The paper explains the types of cyberbullying that are occurring and how victims can suffer long-term damage as a result. It concludes with a discussion of why experts recommend social networks not be banned in schools and offers practical steps schools can take to manage student online interactions at school and at home. Finally, it offers a solution that gives schools the granular control required to make social media tools safe for students. One that gives schools visibility into and control over social media interactions, to not only help them educate students in the proper use of social media, but to help prevent problems such cyberbullying and other inappropriate activities.