In my Facebook feed today there are a lot of moms sharing the link to the new NYC Department of Education Guidelines for Social Media Use. The local NYC media are also excitedly promoting the new social media guide put out this week. At first glance it sounds great that an administration is stepping in to help kids navigate social media, provide tips and guidance and empower kids to make smarter choices online -- or so you'd think.
But in fact if you read the document you quickly realize that it is not a guide -- it is a set of cliché ridden guidelines, complete with links to multiple Chancellor's Regulations, because there is nothing kids won't enjoy more than reading the A-831 regulation to understand peer sexual harassment.
This guide contains such gems as this advice if you are cyber-bullied and would like to report it to the adult in charge at your school,"If you are not sure who your school's Respect for All Liaison is, please look for their name on the RFA posters."
And this warning about crossing the personal-school life boundary, "Sometimes, personal social media use, including off-hours use, may result in disruption at school and the school may need to get involved. This could include disciplinary action such as a parent conference or suspension."
In other words, this is NOT a social media guide, it is a set of regulatory guidelines, and we shouldn't be giving the NYC Department of Ed a big hurrah for publishing them. They are not curriculum or actual teaching tools.
The good news is that there is a media literacy bill right now in the New York Legislature that would mandates the Department of Ed will develop standards and provide resources for incorporating media and social media literacy in K-12 curriculum. And, it will make teacher training available for media literacy as well.
THIS is worth your time in sharing and talking about so we can actually create media savvy kids.