School- a place to learn, grow, and develop. Really?
The technology landscape has developed rapidly in the last few decades, and as I said in a previous article, I think in the future we will look back on this time as a bigger period of growth than the Industrial Revolution. We are now living in an age where you can tell your phone to run your bath as you are driving home, and then reserve a ticket to Mars. That’s no exaggeration.
So compared to the hare of innovation in the tech world, the education sector is the tortoise. We still teach a standardized curriculum full of maths, English, science (and so we should). But as tech has developed, education on how to use it has remained at a standstill- save some basic skills like word processing. But children need to learn about social media and how to use it properly. Because right now, we’re not. And it’s breaking people.
According to the Guardian, poisonings among girls have risen by 42% in the last 10 years, and in the same amount of time- the number of girls admitted to hospital for cutting themselves has risen by 285%. There is clearly a massive issue which needs to be addressed. And not just in girls (although I used female figures to illastruate my point).
It is not clear that social media is the sole cause of these dramatic rises- but there is a large consensus among specialists that this is one of the main causes. What else has changed? And this is something which relates directly to education.
It seems we are at breaking point. Fortunately- many YouTubers are starting to pick up on the issues social media can present to younger people. PewDiePie, who is pretty much the face of YouTube, made a video in which he commented on ‘forced positivity on YouTube‘, and stated how everybody has their ups and downs- and how social media is an idealized version of reality. Other YouTubers such as Casey Neistat have also since commented on this.
However, even if awareness rises, the problem still remains. The vast complicated problem of social media which is leading so many people to unhappiness. What can we do? Educate.
The curriculum needs to adapt if it is to truly educate younger people and equip them properly for life- and not just leave them to navigate this ‘underworld’ for themselves. There needs to be education on social media, how it works, how it is different from real life, and how to properly use it without being left in a state of unhappiness or confusion. I propose a new lesson- digital media. Teachers should be trained in the art of Facebook Twitter and Snapchat, things which young people have been left to learn by themselves up until now.
Times have to change, otherwise people will.