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Op-Ed: Teen beaten and brutalized online: Social media to blame?

By Ini Augustine     Apr 22, 2014 in Crime
Des Moines - High school students videotaped the graphic beating of 16-year-old sophomore, Nathan Rogers, then posted their videos on Facebook. Is social media to blame for cyberbullying?
In January of this year, news of a “happy slapping” incident shocked residents of Central Iowa. High school students videotaped the graphic beating of sixteen year old sophomore, Nathan Rogers, then posted their videos on Facebook. When videos are posted on public domains like Facebook and Youtube, their IP addresses can easily be tracked by law enforcement.
Bullying is a real and painful part of childhood for many children, and social media can make it even more so. It's a double edged sword, because previously, bullying was allowed in schools because there was "no proof". Now the proof is permanently stored not just in the psyche of the victim, but also for the world to see. These types of incidents get the most news coverage, but is there another side to social media and children?
Over the past decade, the world has been transformed into a fast paced technology platform with smartphones, tablets, and WiFi. Any person capable of moving a finger has access to these technologies, including children. This transformation has resulted in the creation of a new child in modern classrooms. This child is a very intelligent being who responds to the use of technology. This child is bored with the use of the traditional “chalk and talk” approach and needs to be engaged with strategies that reflect the new era. Having a social media strategy for education will be crucial to the success of the next generation of learners.
The foundation of social media is communication. Social media networks enable students to develop an identity with a learning community, participate in group discussions, and share thoughts and ideas. There are several Virtual Learning Environments (VLNs) such as edmodo.com and MyCourse which offer discussion boards via which students can express their thoughts and ideas. However, some teachers and students have found that it is much easier to communicate via the more popular social media sites such as Facebook.
In reality, the benefits of social media in education far outweigh the pitfalls. There is no effective way to completely shield children from social media, so the next best option is to use it positively. Social media allows education to be presented in a format that the new generation loves and understands.
SocialWise Media Group has developed interactive training for students and educators to manage social media in an educational setting. You can get more information here.
What is your opinion on the increase in youth violence on social media? Who's to blame?
You can follow Ini Augustine @mrsmadbiz
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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