In the public discussion of “social media” there’s heated debate about what kids should and should not see or access. It’s a debate that has followed every media invention and I’m sure will continue when kids start demanding wrist and sunglass based devices too.

In schools, the focus of ‘internet education’ is based on trends and morality all too often still. School systems have long found social capital in presenting parents with visions of technological wonderment, and these days the even promote their staff as “Google” or “Apple” teachers. Ironically, unlike technicians in schools with their actual qualifications, parents pay more attention to brands. It’s an unavoidable fact – principles and administrators love to “brand-bomb” parents in order to appear “up with the times”. Morality is more complex, but no less used to get children and parents to comply with whatever agenda/belief those in charge of school education deem fit and unfit.

The problem … and it’s a big one, is that only a handful of teachers appear to have the understanding and skill to deal with the ethics of social media. The media requires a generation of “second screeners” to survive. I must convince people to both watch television and use social media concurrently. Radio shows constantly demand their listeners log onto their Facebook page and comment on their mundane “talk-back” topics. Both select the comments that suit their OPINION and ignore the ones they don’t. And this is the point to me. School should be teaching kids to find or make an ARGUMENT in social media, whereas children are routinely treated as the TOPIC of social-media OPINION.

It has become a huge “game” inside educational networks – how to embody OPINION curriculum and therefore attempt to control BEHAVIOUR¬†educate, while at the same time ignore any and all ARGUMENTS that what is being taught (cyber-safety) is about as much use to kids as a chocolate teapot in it’s current limited scope.

There is a rich opportunity to teach “who cares, wins” to young people through technology and yet administrators (I have given up calling them leaders) … administrators continue to embody their OPINION in which online media must first sandbag all negative elements (as they see it) and that this will produce morally correct users. Check with any kid to see what is banned – despite a decade of research showing banning has a negative effect.

The public Internet is awash with second-screen trolls, haters and self-serving ‘sales’ messages, thinly disguised as “public opinion”. One I particularly loath is the Daily Telegraphs education reporter who Tweets #gonski almost continually during the ABCs #qanda yet completely ignores the fact “Gonski” is simply a trope within the hyperbole. The rest of the time, I assume they are out there in the community helping kids and teachers. I am sure there’s an education journalist at every P&C meeting, TeachMeet or School BBQ too … lol. Well of course not, they simply chirp in from their lounge.

This is what kids are learning. Adults are addicted to ‘second-screen’ culture. Whether watching TV or having a meal … parents tap into their “virtual world” continually … yet kids are to be kept away from it. Brain-missing if you ask me, which you didn’t.

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