A new bill would make a social media class mandatory for all sixth-through-eighth grade students in New Jersey Public Schools.
The purpose is to teach responsible use of social media. The class would teach students about the acceptable use of various social media, cyber safety, cyber security and cyber ethics.
A big emphasis will be on the negative consequences of using social media irresponsibly, like cyberbullying.
The text of the bill, which is expected to pass, can be found here (PDF).
I honestly don't blame New Jersey too much for this one.
Is it "nanny state"? Sure it is. Is it something teachers should have to teach? Of course not. Obviously this is something parents should cover with their own kids. We had this same discussion over sex ed in schools back in the day. Parental territory.
However, when you have parents suing school districts because allegedly bullying was not addressed in the schools, or when a child commits suicide over bullying and a lawsuit is filed, or when kids are disciplined for posting pictures or video of teachers in the classroom, well, this sort of proactive instruction is bound to arise.
It's a shame, really, that it has come to this. With new accountability standards for teachers and school districts in place across the nation (thanks to Common Core which requires a rigid evaluation system as well), teachers don't need the added burden of teaching kids how to behave. It's unclear whether New Jersey would treat this as a full term curriculum, a two-day unit, or just require teachers to work it into their regular classes, but no matter how you slice it, it's parental territory.