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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Should it be legal for middle school students to use Facebook?

Should it be legal for middle school students to use Facebook?

Related Tags: Classroom Technology
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4 Replies 1261 Views
When I asked a group of 7th graders how many of them had a Facebook page, more than half their hands went up. When I asked how many of them were 13 or older, there were far fewer hands. I had my students watch this video http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=7412436 and use this new scenario: “Should middle school students be allowed to use Facebook?” on the SCAN tool at TregoED. I am using this as a prompt for a persuasive essay. We could use your point of view!

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Hubert V. Yee's picture
Hubert V. Yee
social media and marketing manager of startup

If we reflect back on turbulent times we see that media plays a significant role in our lives. We can manage it but we can't stop it. We have some great resources on social media and education (http://bit.ly/lTNbg7). Check them out!

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Sandra,
Great question. However, I think there is another way of looking at it, and that might be what Hubert was alluding to in the earlier comment: Can we stop our students from using Facebook? I've worked in schools that have banned it, but students quickly find ways around it. To my mind, Facebook isn't going anywhere, and pretending it doesn't exist only fails to recognize that there are significant benefits to the use of such technology in the classroom.

Of course, there is a long way to go: the first step, I think, lies in teaching 'netiquette' - the right way to behave online. Much as these kind of personal social skills are taught in younger years to children, perhaps there needs to be an online counterpart taught at the same time?

Kirsten Foti's picture

I have a Facebook page that is just for my students - and I have eight years worth of them as friends.

For my current students, the page has turned out to be very beneficial. It has given them an easy place to email me with questions about assignments. I have even had parents ask me questions via their child's page. There have even been a couple of occasions when students have referred me to bullying pages, and with my assistance and the backing of the school, we have been able to shut those down and address some problems. For my former students, I have been able to offer everything from tutoring assistance to references to college help.

I use the page partially as a teaching tool. I post messages from my class web site directly to Facebook. I post news articles in an effort to get the kids to read. I share reviews of novels I have read. The kids are going to be on there (whether their parents know it or not), and I am going to use it to the best of my advantage.

Alayna Frankenberry's picture
Alayna Frankenberry
Social Media Editor for Spark, a program of the Sprout Fund

The Spark blog recently covered an article on the same topic: http://www.sproutfund.org/spark/2011/06/13/how-young-is-too-young-for-fa...

The article sited is on msn.com and has a lot of comments from users debating the pros and cons. Personally,I agree with Keith. Completely barring Facebook isn't an effective strategy as most children will log on at a friend's house or somewhere else. I think the key lies in determining how much surveillance is necessary and where to place the parameters for facebook use.

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