Since the first phone was patented in the United States in 1876, the role of cellular devices has grown exponentially. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, over 90 percent of adults have a cell phone that they use for various tasks including messaging, calling, playing games and shopping. Social media is also a growing influencer in our everyday lives. According to Statista, a statistics portal with studies from over 22,500 sources, 81 percent of the United States population has a social media profile. People benefit from using social media everywhere else in the world; why not in school?
Social media platforms including Snapchat and Instagram are blocked on the Redwood wifi server, preventing students from accessing the applications at school. Schools across the nation block social media applications because of their tendencies to distract students from learning, to try to ensure students are paying attention in class and to avoid inappropriate actions online while at school. Although it might seem like a good idea for these platforms to be blocked, putting social media back on the school’s wifi will ultimately help students learn and communicate.
The purpose of school is to educate students and teach life lessons that will help them in the future. If students cannot learn how to manage their time on social media responsibly earlier in life, it will hurt them in college and the workplace. Avoiding a problem is not a beneficial solution, it is just delaying the consequences. It is worthwhile to deal with distractions in high school if it means that students will be prepared later in life when it is more important.
Steve Nicholls, a social media strategist, explained his belief that social media shouldn’t be banned in schools on CNN’s School of Thought blog.
“I believe it is critical that social media is allowed in schools as it presents a world of opportunities that far outweigh the risks if it is implemented safely and properly. Social media has become far too integrated into daily life on a global basis; failing to incorporate it into schools would do our children a disservice,” Nicholls said.
Some may say social media is a distraction, but in reality it provides educational benefits. The University of Science & Technology of China and the City University of Hong Kong scientists examined how social media affects learning in a student’s life.
According to Science Daily, the team found that social media helped students with their grades.
The study said, “students reported that Facebook allowed them to connect with the faculty and other students in term of friendship/social relationship, provide comments to peers/share knowledge, share feelings with peers, join groups established for subjects, collaboration: notification, discussion, course schedule, project management calendar and to use educational applications for organizing learning activities.”
This supports the idea that social media helps students learn and communicate. Social media is not something that only helps a few kids. According to the Pew Research Center, 94 percent of teens spend time with their friends on social media. This time on social media includes time spent studying, sharing information or simply talking.
Overall, Redwood High School should unblock social media platforms on the school’s wifi because of the various opportunities it offers. Additionally, the block won’t stop students from using social media during school hours because students will still use VPN apps or their data to access their desired applications. It’s time that Redwood administration reevaluate their stance on social media. Students learn, collaborate and communicate through social media and it is a growing influencer in everyday life. It is the duty of a school to help prepare students for the real world. Social media certainly exists in real life, so there is no point in banning it now, especially because it can be advantageous in an academic environment.