What have we learned about Social Media this week? 

This week three schoolgirls were suspended for posting a mockumentary video on Youtube, in which they offered sexual favours saying they were, “Offering a public service that would help prevent unwanted sexual attacks on others.”  Michael Carr-Gregg said it was a spectacular failure of the SA education system, as schools are not equipping students with the skills knowledge or strategies to keep themselves safe online.   

But it wasn’t only kids getting into strife online this week with the CEO of EnergyWatch, Ben Polis being forced to quit his position after making racist and sexist remarks on his Facebook page. The predictable defence that his comments had been, “taken out of context” failed to prevent a curious tale of role reversal in which we saw sporting clubs ditch a sponsor because of a controversy.

 So I noted with interest that the NSW Education Department are looking to review their social media policy which currently sees it banned in NSW Dept schools. A spokeswoman for the NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations, Rachael Sowden, said, ”Kids are actually accessing it at school anyway on their mobile phones. It’s better to help support our students rather than put our heads in the sand and hope they don’t access it by blocking it.”

 Ms Sowden said if access was allowed, it should be with ”support, guidance and always at the appropriate time”. However, more than this, we need to explore the teaching and learning benefits that can be gained from embedding social media in our pedagogy.

 This promises to be a hot topic that will divide many, but I urge parents and teachers to approach this with an open mind.


Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminar at the Gold Coast. He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler

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