OPINION: I don’t need 40 year old followers

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With modern teenagers’ lives being consumed by technology, it is no surprise that some teachers would turn to social media to communicate with students. Though this may seem like a harmless tool, students and teachers connecting through social media is unprofessional and can have dangerous consequences.

Friending, following or any equivalent action, disrupts the clearly defined roles of students and teachers. School is a place of learning and should be separate from both students’ and teachers’ personal lives. Teachers should be friendly with their students not be their students’ friends. A teacher’s purpose is to educate students and a student’s job is to learn. Social media ruins the balance of power and can make students feel as if their teachers are their equals. Friends do not assign homework or a semester grade. By complicating the student-teacher relationship, the learning environment suffers.

Some people may argue that social media can provide a useful platform for teachers to communicate with their students. With platforms like Snapchat and Instagram being the dominant form of communication for many teens, using technology could simplify the attempt to connect with students. However, one could easily abuse this networking opportunity.

Connecting through social media opens the door to inappropriate relationships between students and teachers. With the ability to message privately, improper communications can occur. Sexting and harassment is easier through social media.

Some school districts in states like New York and Missouri have banned teachers from using social media to communicate with students. Other districts allow the use but require that teachers use electronic devices provided by the district so communication can be monitored. Many current regulations have been implemented because of inappropriate student-teacher relationships or sexual harassment claims.

Using social media to communicate is inappropriate and unprofessional. Teachers should focus on their jobs and stop trying to seem cool to their students. Students and teachers should not be friends on social media, and to the teacher who tried to follow me on Instagram: No thanks. I don’t need forty-year-old followers.

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