Social media distraction

I came across this interesting infographic under the heading "Social media will distract you at work", claiming social media is costing American companies $650 billion per year (although would be interested to know how they estimate that) in lost productivity because of the way it distracts workers.

The reason this caught my eye was in light of feedback we had from students we were interviewing at a secondary school last week where there is the perennial debate about whether or not to allow Facebook to be accessed by students in the school. The school currently allows Facebook to be viewed, although promotes a 'responsible use' approach to when, including allocating some computer labs as 'no facebook" zones. 

Those interviewed claimed the usage was extremely high (validated by the network traffic reports), and that despite widespread acceptable use agreements etc. the use by students during class was rampant.Their view – Facebook should be blocked in their school – despite the fact that they themselves were users of it. They claimed it is like putting a chocolate on the table in front of you and saying "you can't eat it" – better to simply not put the chocolate there. (Reminding me of the Stanford Marshmellow experiment.)

Several of the students were strident in describing the use of social media by some of their peers as being distracting to others in the class, of the rudeness of the people who engaged in it, how it reflected a complete disregard for the learning of others in class etc. Very interesting in terms of a youth viewpoint.

Having recently worked with Teachers Council on their social media guidelines (being released at ULearn), and reading much of the material coming out recently about social media addiction, it reminds me that we need to be thinking carefully about the modelling we do as teachers – before our students and in our own staff meetings etc. . 

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