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Teens, Social Media and the School System: Misunderstood or Toxic Relationship?

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The education system has its flaws. You don't have to be a researcher to know that. Am I biased? Of course I am, but so is everyone else who has ever been to school.

The education we have in this country is incredible compared to some countries that don't. I am not disregarding them; I have the perspective of a student who has had the luxury of going to school my entire life and a pretty good one at that. Schools all over the world have flaws. Some are small but some are quite substantial. Some of these bigger issues I believe are not being handled in a way that will either help prevent them or aid in the prevention of them. The main thing I question is our school system's reaction to teens/tweens on the Internet and what they share publicly.

I feel that the restrictions schools put on our expression over the Internet are misguided. Do I believe that school systems totally understand the age of technology that us, millennials, live in? No, but that is not their fault. Just like we wouldn't fully understand some of the major issues of their generation, they aren't going to understand ours. I am not saying the reason behind their rules and guidelines are wrong, I'm saying I don't know if it is handled in a way that will have any impact.

Punishing someone for something they said negatively about a teacher publicly, like on Twitter, happens to be something I can't always argue against sometimes. If you are stupid enough to say something completely disrespectful on the Internet about a teacher or administrator and you know the guidelines your school follows about that, you can't really avoid it. No matter how absolutely ridiculous the reason behind it all can be, it's still stupid. On the other hand, do I think school officials should be sniffing around teen's social media sites specifically looking these kinds of posts? No. Do they do that? Maybe, I don't know. Whether they do that or not, I just believe the whole social media situation is being mishandled and I have a few ideas of what school districts could do to gain a better understanding of the culture of social media.

I am not going to discredit schools for having strict rules on cyber-bullying. Those are needed. I am not going to protect someone who purposely goes after another human being with hate on the Internet. I, and many of the HuffPost Teen bloggers, absolutely know how mean some people can get.

My real issue is that schools make these decisions regarding public expression on the Internet and what you can and can not say without truly being informed on the ideals and culture of theInternet.

Major corporations are hiring specialists who know about social media and the culture of it to aid them in their ventures of expansion and containment. Why don't schools do that? Why don't schools hire people who truly know what they are doing? You don't even have to hire anyone. There is probably a student in the school who is willing to sit down with administrators and explain the culture of the Internet, not just social media. Hey, I would.

If I knew that administrators and school officials knew, from a student's perspective, from someone who lives in this technologically advanced society first hand, what the culture of it all is like, I would feel better. I would feel better that the rules and guidelines schools put in place is regards to internet use are well informed from not only a research base but a personal base.

Just as I believe teens need to be taught about the dangers of social media and what one post could do to your future endeavors, adults need to learn the culture of it all to be informed as well. I'm sorry, but reading isn't the only way of learning something. Sometimes, you just need to experience it. That experience could come from just sitting down with a teenager who knows the culture and asking questions. Opening up the lines of communication between teenagers and the adults who are involved in their education couldn't do any harm, only good. I just want peace. Peace between the students and administrators so that we can all do our jobs without feeling restricted.

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