Social media policies in Schools

SLJ140301w-FT_SocialMedia“Swimming pools can be dangerous for children. To protect them, one can install locks, put up fences, and deploy pool alarms. All these measures are helpful, but by far the most important thing that one can do for one’s children is to teach them to swim.”

—National Research Council, Youth, Pornography, and the Internet
(National Academic Press, 2002)

A few years ago, as members of an Illinois School Library Media Association task force, we surveyed members to gauge the intellectual freedom concerns of school librarians. Their feedback made it clear that Internet use was highly regulated by a large majority of their schools. Most had acceptable use policies, but many did not address the use of social media. They were simply banning forms of online social interaction beyond district-issued emails or teacher-controlled course pages.

As schools, we have installed locks and put up high fences to ward off undesirable content. We have made the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) into the highest fence of all. The problem is that kids have already been in the pool and will do anything to keep returning. And they are doing so with an ever-growing assortment of portable personal computing devices.

This reality leaves librarians and other school personnel in the uncomfortable role of gatekeepers. Sure, the rules say kids can’t go into the pool, but how do we manage when they all rush the fence at once? And what’s the purpose of keeping them out?

With the rollout of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), “designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, ” according to the CCSS website, we can no longer view social media use in schools as an annoyance or a novelty. Besides being unrealistic, that stance is a disservice to the academic and social development of our students. It’s time to update our policies to reflect the reality and the promise of social media.

What CIPA stipulates

Let’s start by looking at what CIPA actually requires of schools that use federal E-rate funding to underwrite Internet access. Not as much as one would think.

Lyceum Books, Inc. School Social Work: Practice, Policy, and Research
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Local police departments review social media policies  — WKYC-TV
Oliver says the tensions in Ferguson right now are a prime reason why trust is needed between the officers and the community they serve. He says that's why they have a social media policy.

Social media policies in the workplace  — Lexology
This is an ever-increasing area of litigation. In a series of recent decisions, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has found social media policies unlawful because those interfere with employees' rights to act collectively.

Boys Town Press Tools for Teaching Social Skills in Schools: Lesson Plans, Activities, and Blended Teaching Techniques to Help Your Students Succeed [With CD (Audio)]
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University Press of Kansas Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore, 1986-1999 (Studies in Government & Public Policy)
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