I have come across this THINK acronym before (below). And each time I find myself asking if this poster best represents students the repercussions of an all-too-common-moment of indiscriminate social media sharing: Are dumbing things down, too much for our kids? Are we simplify a very complex issue for our students? If so, should we be? If not, is this an effective approach?
Don’t misunderstand me. I really do recognize the merits of giving our youth the necessary skills, tools, and mindset to interact appropriately and effectively on social media and digital platforms (indeed a skill long ignored by the western education system). But for our young digital citizens (that really do not know another world), I question whether this might be a great oversimplifcation?
FULL DISCLOSURE: While I use the above infographic/poster in my ‘social media and you’ workshops with our students, I tend to appreciate the depth of the infographic below even more.
Social media is not only a platform, but it is also a language, a community, and a process. With its wider scope, the infographic below better represents the complexity that is social media. Students are asked to consider not just the present effect of their actions (Is it kind?), but rather to recognize their actions as the beginning of a multi-layered and convoluted (and virtually uncontrollable) process (So, my friend is OK with it, but how might it affect me?).
Am I splitting hairs? Maybe. Maybe not. I suppose my fear resides in the fact that if we and parents and educators continue to dumb down (or simplify) the misuse of digital and social media will our students truly understand the gravity and reprocussions of a three second act of inappropriate sharing? Have we just minimized something that is extremely urgent? Are we willing to take that chance? Always more questions than answers…