What do students lose out on due to schools banning social media?

“There are 2 approaches to protecting yourself from electricity. The first is to never use it, and stay as far away from it as possible. The second is to take precautions: insulate the wires, include an earth, include a sound system of circuit breakers and fuses. Which approach should be taken?”


First let’s look at the situation through the eyes of the management. We have always been told how building up a sound reputation can be a very difficult thing to do but breaking one down can be very quick and brutal in a society where the actions of a single person is generalised towards the general working principles of the organisation they are a part of. Now whilst I don’t agree with the logic assumed by society, I understand it’s simply an unavoidable reality.

One very real problem that is spreading like wildfire amongst teenage school children in Sri Lanka: nude photographs. And it’s clear to see the school is worried that her children might be manipulated to engage themselves in this activity which can be disastrous to both their personal and professional lives and in turn it could taint the reputation of the school. Now this example is just one of many issues which are present, a couple more were covered during our article last week.

Let’s analyse this situation on two levels. The first, “Will Prohibition save these children?”. The answer is, as was comprehensively covered in Ramesh’s article, NO! However, let us travel to a parallel where the answer is yes. Now the question is, how can this ruling be enforced? How can a school enforce this ruling upon her students? During my school career, we had the exact same ruling enforced upon us, and the very first thing I did was slightly change my name and edit my privacy settings, my Facebook account remained active throughout my school career. It’s frankly that easy to become invisible. The Chinese government banned Facebook (Not social media – just Facebook) within her borders, yet a significant number of Chinese residents use Facebook (Psssstt it’s called a VPN). So the question is: Can a school achieve something which the world’s most dominant super power couldn’t?

A very comparable scenario to the one being analysed is that of pirated intellectual property. It’s clear cut illegal on Sri Lankan legislation, and yet here we go -> (this is leaving aside any pirated content which is distributed via peer-peer methods i.e. torrents) Enforcing the ban on pirated content is without doubt something which needs to be done, and yet it’s clearly very difficult to achieve. Banning social media is perhaps identical, except social media is legal.

Now is there a solution for the problem of students posting content which can be detrimental to themselves and the school? Yes, there is! And it’s quite simple! It isn’t quick and it isn’t easy, but it is simple. During the 2nd War the Russian Army was losing the battle of Stalingrad, the Kremlin executed the generals’ who retreated, deported their families and ordered to shoot down any soldiers who retreat back to safety. Did this approach work? Obviously not. One political officer Commisar Danilov said, let’s do it through love for the motherland, let’s make them believe in a victory! No surprises, that approach worked. The red army won the battle of Stalingrad and effectively halted the German advance into Eastern Europe.

Now whilst it might seem to be incomparable scenarios, the logic of the solution is fool proof. My colleagues and I had more than a few differences with the management during our school careers, however, to the best of our knowledge we never posted anything that could drag our school through the mud, because we genuinely loved our alma mater. That love is what needs to be instilled amongst the current and future students to combat the issue of detrimental content going up. It isn’t quick, it isn’t easy, but it is simple and it is long term. The solution to the very specific problem (Nude photographs) is simply to explain to very clearly to the students the permanence of the internet. Once anything is thrown onto the internet, it will never come off. A Canadian singer, Mr. Bieber has some lovely advice which is directly applicable to everyone. #LoveYourSelf

Analysing from a second level: how can social media be useful? To answer this, we need to understand that social media is much more than just Facebook. Just to pick two social media icons outside Facebook: YouTube is used by a number of leading universities in the World to assist their students with their studies. That is in addition to the billion other video covering a vast network of knowledge which the user has access to. LinkedIn is another prominent professional connection social media icon which is quite useful with employer-employee networking. Personally I’ve gained a lot through social media. Just to pick a specific example, I was able to connect with The International Cauldron’s Editor-In-Chief though Facebook. The experience I gained writing opinion and investigative pieces for the International Cauldron has without doubt been extremely useful with employer networking and academic writing.

Moving outside my domain, there are a number of people who have got to very high places because of social media. I will pick two examples. The first is from the fashion industry. The story of Sydney’s Mimi Elashiry who was rejected from major fashion labels because 5’6”, apparently just wasn’t good enough. However her followers on Instagram rose quickly and the same fashion labels which rejected her, came back and requested her to join. The second is PewDewPie (YouTube personality) whose networth is $12Million, through YouTube. Now whilst YouTube isn’t monetized in Sri Lanka right now, it is starting to become a very real possibility. Social media has opened up pathways which previously didn’t exist for so many people. Simply because it’s a platform for people to showcase their abilities to a global audience, and learning to use this essential tool is the way forward.

Now that we reached the end of the article. Which approach did you take with the electricity?

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