It’s no secret that social media is radically changing the way we communicate. Yet, what happens when the lines of communication are no longer as clearly defined? The rapid onset of social channels has caused individuals, companies and organizations alike to grapple with how and why to make room for these channels when communicating. While we adapt and figure out how to make it all work, the issue of kids using social media creates a new set of issues for parents, teachers and society as a whole. As kids become increasingly tech savvy and socially experienced, their preferred way of communicating is quickly changing – unlikely to ever go back to the way it once was. Similarly, the communication paradigm between teachers and students is no longer what it once was. Before the prevalence of social media, if a student needed to talk to a teacher, they would simply meet with a teacher before or after class on school grounds. Today, if a child is having difficulty in a class or with personal issues, they are increasingly more likely to send their teacher a message via Facebook than any other medium. And what’s the harm in that anyway? From a glance – maybe nothing. In Missouri, it’s soon to be against the law (you can read more about that in this Time Magazine online article). Meanwhile, it’s not unheard of for teachers to be extra cautious befriending students on Facebook, this month the state of Missouri plans to ban teachers from communicating with students on social networks for good. As a former teacher, last week I attended a class with teachers from around the country. When the topic of social media use by teachers came up, I was surprised by the number of teachers experiencing social phobia due to fear of privacy, miscommunication and students “finding” them. This of course got me thinking. As kids become more and more plugged in and social media becomes the natural way of communicating – is banning social media use or making it illegal really the answer?
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