Teaching Social Media in Schools – a Necessity?

I just read this article and then watched a three minute video by Jay Baer where he poses the question “Should Social Media Be Taught in High School?”

teaching social media in high school

Watch Jay here:

Jay makes excellent points and, like him, I trust his mom’s opinion: if a former high school teacher (30 years of experience with teenagers!) answers this question with a resounding ‘yes’, I am going to pay attention.

In this, my second ‘Pondering Social Media’ article, I want to ask YOU what you think of the question regarding social media being taught in high school and I’d like to share my thoughts on the subject as well.

First I’d like share with you why I think I might be worth listening to on this subject.

What I am not – I am not a high school teacher. I am not a high school counselor or administrator. I am not an accredited expert on teenagers.

Who I am– I am, however, a mom to three teens and a pre-teen. I swap stories with other parents and have been parenting for 18+ years. I am a social media consultant and because of my job, I am probably more aware of the possible dangers of social media as it relates to college acceptance, bullying, school performance, sports and scholarship opportunities. I am online all the time. I am online when your teen is in school. I am online when you think your teen is in school, learning, yet I know (I engage with them, at times) they are online while in the classroom. I am the marketer who optimizes my posts to social media targeted at teens and I know what they will click on, share and like.

As to the question posed in the title, here is my answer. I do think social media should be taught in high school and here are my reasons.

Top 5 Reasons Social Media Should Be Taught in High School

  1. Knowledge is Powerfor both students and teachers! Ignorance is bliss yet here’s a prime case of what you don’t know can hurt you! Social media knowledge will help both students and teachers to understand dynamics and possibilities of social media marketing and social media networking. Social media can have a positive or negative affect on teachers and students school careers, depending on how much they know about platforms, privacy and copyright laws and how they apply that knowledge!
  2. Behavior Guidelines. Every school has behavior guidelines pertaining to student on-campus behavior. How many schools have behavior guidelines as it pertains to online behavior? Very few. It’s time to set those guidelines (pay attention school districts; this is where you need to step up to the plate!) and teach the students what to say (or not to say), do (or not to do) and how to conduct themselves online while on the premises, as well as at home.
  3. Preventing vs. Solving Problems. Bullying, sex(ting), cheating… should I go on? With the ‘help’ of social media, these ever-present teen issues have reared their ugly heads higher and more vindictive and wide-spread than ever before! Education on these subjects and how they pertain to social media is a must! Again, behavior guidelines, consequences and school zero tolerance policies should be put in place before problems get out of hand!
  4. Social Media: It’s Not ALL Bad! Yes, you heard it here! Social media and the internet also provide many learning opportunities. It’s time our teens learn how to use social media for good to better their future! What better place to give them the tools to use social media for something positive than in their own school? This could include learning and connecting with people across the globe, visiting museums and taking online virtual tours of historical landmarks. How about taking virtual college tours and learning new languages?
  5. College Acceptance & Scholarship Opportunities. On that same note; a positive social media presence and active networking can make (or break) someone’s chances of getting into the college of their choice and the scholarship opportunities given to them. Whether it is an academic or athletic scholarship they are after, their online footprint will be looked at and evaluated by college admission counselors and scholarship boards – for sure!

What If We Taught Social Media in High School?

Dare I say we would empower our children to take charge of their future? Dare I mention we would allow them to shine and soar to new heights and find or create new opportunities? Dare I imply that social media education falls to the school and not only to the parent?

I dare!

Now I dare ask you to share your opinion…

Leave a comment and join the conversation.