Andrew Halls also said that sites such as Facebook, Ask.fm Little Gossip and Instagram are forcing under-16s to live under an “electric adjudicator far more cruel and censorious” than teachers, and parents. During the speech he suggested that the growing influence of social media is fuelling a surge in mental health problems amongst children in all social classes.
These are very strong words from someone who is meant to be tutoring new technologies that come into play and not slamming them down. Like everything there is a plus and negative side to all inventions, and it is surely the education system’s role to nurture children through the positive steps whilst explaining the negatives and the impact they can have on others.
Andrew Halls is in a position of high authority, and many will no doubt take on board his words, and this is why it is so surprising that his choice of argument is baffling. If a child was to read what he has said then the natural reaction would be to challenge that authority, because he is clearly against social media. This is what happens in schools without the appropriate tutoring. There is a growing issue to do with bullying online but the wrong way to go about challenging it is to just identify it in the public eye. Mr Halls should have said what he plans to do to keep this at bay, because that is what is needed due to social media not going away.
There are educational benefits to be seen out of sites such as Facebook, and maybe what the educational institutions should be doing is encouraging their students to use the site as a form of collective discussion after school. Despite the children being sat in front of a screen after school is not ideal, it is now the reality so at least this would help them pursue knowledge instead of harming others.
In today’s world, it is appropriate that not only should children be learning the core subjects at school, but also be taught in social media management. By this I mean personal management, and this would include how to act online, and what types of things to avoid, but also how to gain intellectually out of using social media. This may not appeal to everyone, but at present there is no one else suggesting alternatives. This is possibly the route Mr Halls should have pursued before launching an attack on social media as a whole, because one day his students may be using the platform as a way to start a successful business.