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Topics Homepage> Schools should block online access to personal and social media sites

Schools should block online access to personal and social media sites

PRO (3 assertions)

Define:

Schools – all middle and high schools in America
Block – barring students and school faculty to access these sites
Personal sites – any non-educational websites that are not relevant to the actual studying by the students
Social Media sites – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.

1. Assertion: Allowing social media and personal sites on campus creates unwarranted danger

Reasoning: Social media and personal site use on campus will likely lead to…
Unsafe disclosure of personal information -- providing potentially dangerous or damaging personal information.
Addiction -- spending an excessive amount of time online, resulting in lack of healthy engagement in major areas of life.
Risky sexual behavior -- becoming seduced by a sexual predator or child pornographer, posting sexually suggestive material or self-producing child pornography, or making connections with other teens for sexual "hook-ups."
Cyber bullying -- being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material online or through a cell phone, or by engaging in other cruel actions.
Dangerous communities -- at-risk youth making connections with other at-risk youth or adults to discuss and share information, which can result in a shared belief in the appropriateness of potentially very harmful activities.

Evidence: 72% of teens have a social networking profile, and over 47% of them have public profiles that can be viewed by anyone. (Journal of Adolescent Health)
Teens often include personal information on their public profiles, and a study by the National Cyber Security Alliance found out that: 50% of students showed their real ages, 62% of students were found showing photos of themselves, 41% of the students displayed the actual city they live in, 45% of them showed their actual school name and location, and 20% of the students posted videos of themselves and friends
29% of internet sex crime relationships with teens were initiated in social network sites (Journal of Adolescent Health)
26% of online sex crimes against minors were because the offenders dug through the public information and pictures posted by the victim through the victim’s personal social networking site (Journal of Adolescent Health)
In New York, one teacher friended one of his students, and wrote “looking sexy” on one of his female student’s recently posted pictures. There have been over 1000 cases like this one all over the United States (CNN)
15% of social media using teens have said that they have been the target of online cyber bullying (Pew Research Center)

2. Assertion: Implementation is improbably and prohibitive

Reasoning: Allowing access to social media and personal sites is only good if there are three requirements met; firstly, if the teachers are handling the sites responsibly and efficiently as an adult, secondly, if the students are using the sites responsibly as well as mature students, and lastly, if the sites are engaging, and promotes education. So far, there have been countless cases where teachers are not handling social media very well. In addition, teen students are abusing these sites in so many ways; it endangers them by giving sexual predators, cyber bullies, and others a way to access personal information and even pictures of these students. Lastly, it’s a question of whether or not these sites are educationally engaging, and whether or not these students and teachers are taking it seriously.

Evidence: Some teachers have been known to engage in online sexual activity with their students. For example, one teacher called his female student “sexy” when she posted a picture of herself. Another teacher posted on one of his student’s wall, “your boyfriend doesn’t deserve someone as beautiful as you.” From 2000 to 2010, the total number of these instances are approximately about 3051 (National Cyber Security Alliance)
Students have always been known to abuse their access to social media and personal sites. These sites are known to be home to online sexual predatory activity, cyber bullying, and other dangers. According to our previous statistics, these hazards occur frequently everyday. [More of a reasoning statement because of the previously mentioned statistics above]
Lastly, are these sites educationally engaging? So far, the only real schools using social media sites are colleges, and only because college students are usually more mature than middle school and high school students. There have been very few precedents to this case, and only a select few schools with choice selected children have actually conducted access to social media and personal sites in school. One school in Portland, Oregon did this study, but that’s only one out of 125,000 schools in the United States.

3. Assertion: There is no precedent for this issue

Reasoning: Right now, it is true that the education system is degenerating. However, there is still no basis for social medias in schools. Right now, all schools have barred social media and personal site access in school. The reason they have done so is because allowing social media and personal site access on campus will lead to a proliferation of students concentrating on Facebook and Twitter; not on school. According to US Department of Education, the best way to solve the educational crisis is to improve the quality of teaching, not allowing access to social media sites. In fact, in order to actually have these sites, you need a good, qualified teacher to organize the site, make it enticing enough to academically engage the students, and et cetera. At the current teaching quality we Americans are at right now, achieving perfect control over the teachers AND the students in social media and personal site access in school is just a dream. It has been proven time and time again that the key to improving education is by improving the quality of teachers… not by allowing access to social media and personal sites in school. 

CON (3 assertions)

The plan:

The Children’s Internet Protection Act prohibits schools from allowing students to view harmful websites. Constructed on this Act, our social media plan would be to ALLOW STUDENTS TO ACCESS SOCIAL MEDIA SITES PROVIDED THEY AREN’T HARMFUL, AND CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE HARMFUL SITES.

Define:

social media - forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos) - Merriam Webster

Judge, under this clearly defined topicality, websites such as NY Times, where journalists and editorials are published online with various media support (pictures, videos, quotes.) clearly fall into the category of social media sites.

1. Assertion: Social media improves education

Reasoning:“A year after seventh grade teacher Elizabeth Delmatoff started a pilot social media program in her Portland, Oregon classroom, 20% of students school-wide were completing extra assignments for no credit, grades had gone up more than 50%, and chronic absenteeism was reduced by more than a third. For the first time in its history, the school met its adequate yearly progress goal for absenteeism. “

In addition, to help with projects and assignments, allowing students to go online and access worthy sources such as NY Times, CNN, and debate.org help them find credible research. Restricting access to media will decrease the performance and enrichment process that a school might want to integrate.

Quote Richard Adams, director for the state Board of Education for CA, states that “social media is becoming an abundant, rich source of online information. As the World Wide Web progresses, students are given more and more information about the world around them, and this information is more widely obtainable. The question is: should we allow them to?”

2. Assertion: Allowing social media helps facilitate the purpose of schools

Reasoning: The purpose of schools is to integrate children into society. As Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyers mentioned, the social media sites are increasingly becoming an integral part of our society as a developing technological nation. Therefore, allowing students to use social media and integrating it into the courses given at schools will overall help schools adhere to the changing society. In addition, this integration will further help combat cyber-bullying. By prohibiting students’ access, cyber-bullying will never be solved.

Evidence: In addition, only 73% of students that live below the poverty line are able to reach internet once a week, and only 45% can reach it daily (not including school property). (CNN) Less than half can afford a computer. By allowing social media sites, these children can also learn about global news instead of depending on small local newspapers. Allowing social media sites in school will increase the amount of people that are updated with current events, and limiting these websites will put a large population at a disadvantage.

3. Assertion: Allowing social media will increase and facilitate student collaboration

Reasoning: According to the pilot program in Oregon, over 60% of students stated that they had more time to discuss and share projects over internet, and could use these websites to share lectures, notes, and homework. The grades sharply increased. As colleges and many high schools are doing, websites offer services to allow schools and teachers to post homework and extra-credit assignments online, to help students stay organized. This not only “stays up-to-date with current methods used by executive directors of large corporations,” but also helps students learn much more in a lot less time.