This was originally published in my column for the Generation Next newsletter.
Another week, another call for social media to be part of the Australian schooling curriculum.
For what it’s worth I wholeheartedly endorse any approach that is more proactive and meaningful to the way we currently address social media in schools.
Imagine for a second if we taught our teenagers to drive a car in the same manner we attempt to teach them about social media.
1. Driving lessons would be taught by adults (teachers or parents) with little or no experience of driving.
Sure they may know ofcertain brands of cars or be aware of some of their capabilities. They may know it is illegal to speed or drive without a seatbelt, but in reality they have spent little time behind the wheel.
2. Driving lessons would only focus on what not to do.
An average driving lesson would entail students being preached to about the dangers of speeding, drinking driving or not wearing a seatbelt. There may be a little advise on how to keep you and your car safe, eg. regular service checks, installing an alarm and NEVER allowing a stranger to get into your car would all constitute sound advice.
3. Driving lessons would NEVER take place in an actual car.
In fact cars would be banned in the majority of driving schools. So students would be able to take notes, draw pictures or even present a PowerPoint on how to drive, but they would only be able to put these lessons into practice once they were out of sight of an adult.
It’s time for politicians, teachers and parents to stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to social media.
The fact is, social media isn’t technology in the lives of our kids, but an essential aspect of their world. Social media isn’t ‘new’ anymore.
We can’t continue pretending that it is, and using this as an excuse for not addressing it.
And by addressing it I do not mean banning it!