How to Prevent Bad Social Media Influence on Students
In this digital age, schools are seeing more behavioral problems due to bad social media influence on students. Violent ‘Devious Licks’ TikTok school challenges are the biggest concern, with many superintendents across the nation saying they cause harm to employees and facilities and take away valuable classroom time.
Here are some preventative measures you can take against bad social media influence on student behavior.
State the consequences
Often students will think twice about engaging in bad behavior when they know the consequences for their actions. Share with everyone in your school and community your stance on violence, class disruption, and social media use.
Many superintendents, like Dr. Debra Pace at Osceola County School District in Florida, share a video, however, you can also post a message on your school’s website and media channels.
In the message, it’s a good idea to:
- State that your school district understands the positive benefits of using social media but has a strong stance against violence.
- Warn that the district will strictly enforce its student code of conduct related to social media, disruption of campus, aggravated battery, and vandalism.
- Add that during difficult times such as these, everyone needs to support educators who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that students receive a proper education. They deserve to do their work without fear for their safety.
- Encourage parents, teachers, and other stakeholders to help children understand the dangers and benefits of social media.
Reward positive behavior
According to Jacob Rosario, a Vice Principal at Indian Springs High School in San Bernardino, rewarding positive behavior has turned his school around. They implemented a reward system where students earned redeemable points for being on time, dressing appropriately, being ready to learn, and other good behaviors. Students could use these points to buy school gear, tickets to football games, and other things they couldn’t afford.
“We noticed that students were using their points to buy items as gifts for family and friends,” Rosario said. “A skinny ninth grader proudly chose an XXXL sweatshirt before Christmas, letting us know he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford a gift for his mom.”
Under this new system, disciplinary problems at Rosario’s school decreased by 90%, and academic achievement increased by 24%.
Some school districts like Broward County Public Schools started a week of district events highlighting positive behavior. Activities included school assemblies, door decorating contests, making school pride banners, and more. Knowing their students wouldn’t stop using social media, the district encouraged them to showcase their participation in district events on social media using the tag #SchoolPrideAndPeace.
Research by Benedetto and Ingrassia suggests “parents’ agreement and modeling of adequate behaviors are crucial factors for promoting self-regulation and safety use of digital technologies in young children.”
A 2012 Computers in Human Behavior study showed parents influence their children’s behavior more by modeling good internet use than setting rules. With a little bit of education about types of content and differences between social media platforms, parents can help children become responsible citizens during this digital era.
School districts can help parents prevent bad social media influence on students by distributing guidelines or pamphlets like the TikTok Guide for Parents in collaboration with the National Parent Teacher Association and TikTok Family Safety Toolkit. Encourage parents to create social media posts with their children as a fun way to strengthen family bonds and set positive examples for using digital platforms.
Try our K-6 SEL curriculum to teach students how to use technology safely and respect other people.
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