It has been suggested that the students be taught social media basics. This could be a new set of “3 R’s” for education. The social media 3Rs might include, in addition to “reading, writing, and math,” “research” and “respect.”
The “researching” ability could be used to help teach young users on social media how to avoid believing everything that is posted. This would help to stop the spread misinformation. The “responsible use” of social media helps users to understand the importance of being careful about what they share, as well as showing respect towards other users.
Increased social media usage could mean more problems
This curriculum will become even more essential as users of social networks are expected to grow in number over the next few years.
Statista reports that the number of social media users worldwide has risen from 970 millions in 2010 to 2,96 billion by 2020. This is according to Dr. Vivian Maria Vasquez of American University, a professor of Education.
Vasquez said, “Today’s children grow up in a world with increased media usage. A world that is characterized by new technologies and forms of communication.”
As technology became more accessible and kids gained more independence, they spent more time on tablets, social media, streaming and other technologies.
The use of social media platforms has increased the possibility to instantly broadcast experiences of life as they happen. “Social media is a great way for companies to sell products, and news outlets and government agencies to quickly share information in real time,” Vasquez said.
In order to help navigate the online world, such as on social media, youth today may require tools. Vasquez believes that media literacy should be part of the literacy curriculum.
Stacie Pettit, an associate professor in teacher education from Augusta University Online suggested that media literacy and awareness of social media should also be emphasized.
Pettit said that students do not need to be taught about the platform itself, but rather how to identify credible online information and stay safe when using the internet. As far as social media is concerned, teachers can use it to engage students by using this tool. But teachers must consider their purpose in using social networks and should not use them just for its own sake.
There is a New Media
Though other mediums didn’t require such education—no one ever taught anyone how to watch TV or even how to play video games—a difference here is how social media can impact the user in ways that other media does not.
It could be as simple as giving younger users an insight into the impact of this medium on people’s everyday lives.
Anthony Silard is a professor of Luiss Business School, Rome and author of Digital Age: The Art of Free Living.
Silard said that social media and phones are both as captivating for our children and teenagers as they are us. Both are here to remain. We will keep doing the same thing until we are ready to help them adapt to this new aspect of their life.
This is where it could back to those new Rs—so that children understand how to be respectful of others, how they need to take responsibility for what they post and how they shouldn’t contribute to the spread of falsehoods via the platforms.
Vasquez stated that “children need to learn how to critically evaluate the messages on social media they come across directly or indirectly to ensure they’re not duped by anything they hear, read, or see.”
Children need to know what messages to retain and which to discard from the media. In our classrooms, we need to give children the space to see how media images and words are used to portray people in certain ways. To become a critical literate person, it is essential to teach children how text can be used in real life.
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