Social media educator Sean Smith says configuring WiFi access is a band-aid solution for teaching children and youth to use social media in a positive way. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press)

B.C. school district blocks access to social media in the classroom

Students can’t access Netflix, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook when on school Wi-Fi

High school students in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows went back to class this week asking for the Wi-Fi password, only to be told they won’t be able to access social media on it.

School District 42 has configured Internet connections at its six high schools to block access to Netflix, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook on devices connected to school Wi-Fi.

Assistant superintendent Shannon Derinzy said the decision was made with support from each principal, after counsellors vocalized concerns that students were too attached to their social media and not paying attention in the classroom.

“It was becoming an issue,” Derinzy said.

What once was passing notes to your friends has turned into sending each other Snapchats during class, and officials are grappling with how to handle students using social media while on campus.

“We’re trying to say these are realities of today – actually a valuable education tool – but how can we use them in meaningful ways,” Derinzy said.

READ MORE: Victoria middle school cutting the chord on cellphone use

Social media educator Sean Smith says configuring Wi-Fi access is a band-aid solution, however, for what really needs to be addressed: teaching children and youth to use social media in a positive way.

“The problem doesn’t lie in the device, or in the application,” Smith said. “The problem only lies in the fact that we are in denial that they exist.”

Smith, founder of The Digital Hallway, said social media posting is an expected skill to have nowadays for most careers, with employers looking at a candidates’ accounts before hiring.

Educators need to adapt to incorporating the technology in the classroom, he insisted.

“If you find that you have two dozen kids that are sitting there surfing Facebook in the classroom time, maybe the problem isn’t with the device, maybe it’s the teacher,” he said. “Why does a kid get distracted? Because they’re bored.”

Smith suggested it can be as simple as adapting school projects – like creative writing assignments – to integrating a students phone.

“It’s about the creation and creativity of a story, and that story can be done on Instagram or Snapchat.”

Blocked WiFi could cost parents in data usage

Derinzy said staff are aware students can just turn to using their own cell phone data, with the Wi-Fi being down. The district will be reviewing the reults of the ban later this the fall.

In the meantime, increased data use over the span of the school year could cost parents hundreds on their phone bills.

There are also apps out there that re-route servers, allowing websites to sneak around these kinds of blocks.

“When you tell a teenager they can’t do something, what’s the first thing they’re going to do? They’re going to find a way around it,” Smith said. “So rather than find a way to block [social media], embrace the technology [and] new ideas into the classroom.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Date set for Silver Creek man’s bail ruling

Curtis Sagmoen will learn on Feb. 28 if he will be released from custody

Salvation Army shelter renovations pay off

Reconfiguration of beds helps meet shelter’s needs

UPDATE: Serwa second fastest in ski cross seeding

Kelowna ski cross racer has solid run in the seeding round of the women’s ski cross event

Resources for victims of sexual violence to be made available at Hedley concert

A gathering is planned for outside Prospera Place on the date of the concert,

Your Feb. 22 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Three new judges appointed to B.C. Supreme Court

Two spots filled in Vancouver, one in New Westminster

BCHL Today: Merritt’s Buckley nets scholarship and Vees slam Salmon Arm

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Revelstoke based startup to bring RFID technology to 360 degree cameras

Sniper Action Photo operates 30 photo installations in Canada, the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean

Albas disappointed by Alberta ban of B.C. wine

MP has worked to remove barriers to the sale of wine and other alcohol products between provinces

Crowns asks for more time in Victoria double murder of young sisters

Andrew Berry’s next court appearance will be in three weeks to set a date for trial to begin

B.C. MP invites convicted terrorist to Trudeau reception in India

Jaspal Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister

Foster parents needed in Shuswap

Current foster parents retiring, moving on, leaving a gap

Most Read