Parents’ associations in Australia are backing a proposal which would see their children taught how to use Facebook and Twitter properly in the classroom, in the hopes that teaching netiquette would stem the cyber-bullying problem among youth. But is this the right way to solve the problem?
The Telegraph reports that parents’ associations in Australia are looking for their children’s schools to begin teaching “online etiquette, privacy protection and the long-term consequences of posting embarrassing or offensive content” online.
They’re asking that the government formally introduce proper social network use as a core requirement for students, as there has been a rash of offensive content posted online, as well as some suicides related to cyber-bullying in Australia lately.
I wonder if learning proper social media use in schools is enough for students to really change their behavior, however. Peer pressure is often more powerful than anything children hear from adults, especially their teachers and schools. Working with students to teach them the consequences of their actions online is important, but it’s also important to encourage positive reinforcement between themselves when not at school.
Cyber-bullying is a very real threat for students, who are often very vulnerable about how they are perceived online. By introducing a Twitter- and Facebook-related course early on, educators may be able to tackle cyber-bullying before it becomes socially acceptable among groups.