How are social media platforms impacting your school’s culture? Maybe you’re seeing the benefits of these digital spaces in enriching students’ lives. Students may be sharing their interests and exploring their identities in healthy ways. Their creativity may be soaring as they develop their personal profiles and connect with digital content.
Or, quite possibly, you may be experiencing some of the negative effects of people exercising their digital voice with abandon. From risks associated with cyberbullying to the sharing of personal information and inappropriate or hurtful content, social media can be a serious issue for our students and, ultimately, our school culture.
Though we have limited control over how students ultimately choose to engage on social media, it is within our Circle of Influence to help shape the narrative around social media for our schools. We can provide safe and responsible teaching about how leaders share their voice in digital arenas. Consider using Social Media and the 7 Habits as a starting point.
A few tips for using Social Media and the 7 Habits:
- Use it as a starting point. Smart minds on the Leader in Me coaching team created this resource. And as useful and powerful as we believe it can be, we also know that you have the genius in your building to make it your own. Consider capturing ideas from your students about how they can apply leadership in their interactions with others online.
- Engage all stakeholders. Schedule a panel discussion, perhaps facilitated by a student group, and invite the entire school community to share their thinking digitally. Think about ways to connect students, parents, and staff members in the conversation.
- Talk candidly about the risks. Starting this conversation gives schools the opportunity to proactively manage the digital footprints students are actively creating. Everyone, not just students, can begin to more fully consider how the things we post online impact us now and in the future.
- Keep the conversation going. Social media platforms and the ways we interact across them are constantly changing. Those constant changes require that our conversations about the ways we show up on social media become a regular part of our reflective practice.
Technology can rule our life—but it doesn’t have to. Whether we are building our school culture face-to-face in the classroom or remotely from various locations, there are countless opportunities to leverage social media in positive ways.