Evaluate the ethical issues raised by the educational use of social media

Social Media has become a huge part of our day to day lives which is often associated with being a leisure activity or tool for business. However now there is a growing use of social media as an educational tool. With most of us students using social media in our free time, it is unsurprising that this is the way things have evolved. It sounds like a much more appealing way to learn and interact with teachers and other students than the generic email or meeting. There are many ways that social media can be used in education. For example, Youtube can be used to create educational videos on topics to help students revise or even learn something new forblock_4 the first time. Pinterest can be used to gather useful resources for students. Blogs can be used to open up discussions and debates and Twitter can be used by teachers to make announcements and answer questions publicly. This could save time as students can see if their questions have already been answered while a teacher wont have to reply to the same question over and over again. Social media allows students to learn in depth in a way that is easily accessible and not boring to them.

However, there are some debates as to whether social media should be used for educational purposes. Firstly, as social media is a tool that students mostly use for leisure, it can lead to being a distraction. It is too easy to flick from an educational video on youtube to your friends new photo upload on Instagram. Therefore it might not be the most focused way of learning. Secondly, the use of social media to ask questions and debate can discourage actual face to face interaction which people need to feel comfortable with, especially when it comes to job interviews. It hinders the process of building confidence in a safe environment to those that are shy. Finally, social media can sometimes get ugly. “In a study about cyberbullying at Indiana State University, researchers Christine Macdonald and Bridget Roberts-Pittman found that almost 22 percent of college students admit to being harassed online. Of this group, 25 percent report they were bullied through a social networking site.”1 While encouraging social media in education does not directly lead to cyberbullying, engaging more in social media increases the chances of getting involved.block_6In conclusion, social media is a very powerful tool that should definitely not be ignored in the classroom as there are many benefits. Personally, I like the combination of learning with social media and it has helped me make the most of my studies.

Word count: 440


“5 Ultimate Tricks Of Using Social Media As Learning Tools – Elearning Industry”. eLearning Industry. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

“Education Trends And Issues – Social Media In The Classroom By Jenny Harris”. Educationtrendsandissues.wikispaces.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

“Pros And Cons Of Social Media In The Classroom — Campus Technology”. Campus Technology. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

“Social Media In Education: How Social Media Is Changing Education”. Bbcactive.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.


10 thoughts on “Evaluate the ethical issues raised by the educational use of social media”

  1. Hi Cherie

    Thanks for your post, I love your graphics. They really add to your discussion!
    I like the idea of using Twitter to post FAQs surrounding assignments rather than through emails, I feel this would benefit a lot of people. I agree with some of the educational difficulties in using social media that you present. This article (https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/01/20/research-college-students-more-distracted-than-ever.aspx) shows how distracted students are whilst in class, I can only imagine this figure increasing if the classroom is extended across social media.
    In addition to the difficulties you present, do you think a reliance upon social media in education risks further marginalising those without access to cyber technologies? If so, is this ethical? Although access barriers to technology are diminishing for many, the digital divide is still a major issue (See my post for a discussion).



  2. Hi Cherie (that’s a really pretty name btw :D),

    Firstly, well done on your post ! This week I was torn between writing about educational institutions or businesses but found that I could not come up with any solid arguments for education. Thus, it is so insightful to read your post where the content is harmonious and you present some very valid points on social media use within education. Correspondingly, I particularly like that you explain how using social media within an educational setting can be of great benefit but then mention how this can equally become counterproductive.
    Moreover, ethics can be considered as a moral decision between what is right and wrong (BBC, 2014). Accordingly, I can see how cyberbullying is morally wrong because of the psychological stress that it can cause making this an ethical issue. However, in the case of “distraction” can you shed some light on how this poses as an ethical issue for educational use of social media?




  3. Hi Cherie,
    Your post represents an interesting analysis of the use of social media in education. Furthermore, your infographics successfully summarize the key points of the article, making it more comprehensive for the reader.
    Your suggestion of using Pinterest in education is very interesting and by reading this article I realised that this social network can have valuable benefits for teachers too, in terms of collaborating with other educators. What are your thoughts about this?
    Regarding the cons of using social media in education, the majority seem to be mainly applicable for pupils. Thereby, do you think that starting with undergraduate studies and in research, can social media already find a place in education? I would include here solutions as MOOCs or other online communities/courses. Would you like to have something like this incorporated in your education right now?

    Looking forward for your answers,
    Word count: 146 words


  4. Hi Cherie, thanks for your blog post! You present a really clear and balanced analysis of the ethical issues associated with using social media for educational purposes. I would like to delve a little deeper into the specific issues of using Twitter for educational purposes, as I know this is a strategy currently being employed by some academics here at the University of Southampton (including within our module, UOSM2008). According to Veletsianos (2011), some common uses include: sharing resources, communicating, and networking. Do you think there should be restrictions placed on the age at which students can use social media platforms in such a way? Do you think it is ethical to focus attentions on just one social media platform? With regard to the latter, not everyone wishes to become a part of the Twitter community, therefore is it moral to make social media usage obligatory in class, or is it fair to give the interactivity ‘advantage’ to some peers and not others?
    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!


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