Should Netiquette be Taught in the Classroom?

Netiquette: The correct way of communicating on the internet.

This term seems simple enough. After all, our parents teach us how to behave properly and use our manners in the real world. So, should netiquette be integrated into our school’s curriculum?

This is a hot debate that has people firmly rooted on both sides.

With teachers already bogged down with too much to teach in too few days, how could they possible add more? Lunch periods are now shorter, physical education is no longer an everyday activity but cut to only a few times a week, and standardized tests seem to be the main priority for most public schools. All this, plus the fact that everything on the internet is constantly changing and so hard to keep up with, netiquette seems to be the farthest thing from some educators minds. In this article, learning social media etiquette is compared to learning to swim; every kids should learn how to swim but it’s not up to the school to teach it. Those in opposition see social media as a business, something “optional” that might not be around tomorrow.

On the flip side, some schools have already implemented netiquette into their curriculum. They argue that their job is to prepare students for the future and to be successful. They see it as essential in today’s world in order to achieve success in their personal lives and in their future careers. With technology so prevalent in today’s society, how can netiquette not be taught in our schools?

Of course, I have my own personal opinions on this matter. One wrong comment on social media can get you fired from your job or have a teen step over the edge and commit suicide. We have all seen the stories of children being bullied online and it leading to devastating consequences. Adolescents are sexting and posting inappropriate videos online constantly. Do they realize that these pictures and videos can define who they are and stick with them for the rest of their lives? To some extent, maybe.

My own daughter recently came home and told me a story about a girl in her school that was suspended for posting a picture online of her “private area”. Needless to say, we had another long conversation about the repercussions of doing something like this. Not only was this girl suspended, but now this picture can be passed around and around by everyone. It could follow her for years. She could be bullied because of it and even if she does not regret posting that picture now, she surely will in the future.

No one is ignorant to the horror stories that constantly bombard the news and internetĀ of social media gone wrong, but I want to focus on the positive. Social media can be such a powerful tool when used properly. It can foster communication between teachers and students. Conversations about what was taught in school that day can continue on social media. More introverted children can join into this community without feeling awkward or having thirty other faces staring at them in the classroom. Parents can use these sites to see what their children are learning each day and become more involved. Parents can also check up on their child’s progress and see what homework needs to be completed. What better way to teach children how to use social media than to incorporate into their classroom setting? Edmodo, Moodle, and Teachertube are all great places to start.

More and more colleges are offering online course because of time and location constraints. Most online courses require you to collaborate online with your fellow classmates. Educating adolescents would better prepare them with the skills they need to navigate these courses.

Compounded by the fact that most companies use social media and the internet as a tool in screening potential job candidates, social media is here to stay and not everyone knows the proper way to navigate it and use it to their advantage.

There are curriculums available that can be easily implemented at any school. www.commonsensemedia.org is one of the best sites I have seen with a great curriculum for each grade level.

So, where do you stand in this debate? Is there already too much being taught in too little time? Or, is social media etiquette important enough to fit in to the curriculum in order to prepare our children for the future?

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