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Turkey Bans Social Media in School, New Zealand Takes On Cyberbullying

Turkey Bans Social Media in School, New Zealand Takes On Cyberbullying

Last week, Turkey passed legislation to forbid students in all high school classrooms from using any form of social media without the consent of a teacher while New Zealand passed legislation to make "harmful digital communication" illegal, two moves that take on the negative aspects of growing technology in the classroom.

"Due to a change in the regulation on secondary schools, high school students [in Turkey] have been barred from using social media platforms without the consent of their teacher, as well as sharing photos and footage from inside school on such platforms. Students who violate this ban will be sent to the disciplinary board of their school," according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

While many educators throughout the United States have the option to ban social media from their classrooms, many also view social media as a good tool for learning. Studies are varied, as some show that social media use for non-educational purposes can be detrimental to learning, while also show that using social media for learning purposes can be more beneficial than any other supplementary platforms.

And while the motives behind Turkey's new legislation likely has more to do with censorship as the country has a long-standing history with social media bans, it still re-ignites the debate on whether social media should have a place in the classroom or not.

New Zealand has also passed legislation this past week that may have a big impact on technology in education as it attempts to tackle the issue of cyberbullying.

The Harmful Digital Communications Bill seeks to ban harmful digital communication by making it punishable by law, saying that a digital communication should not:

disclose sensitive personal facts about another individual.

  • be threatening, intimidating, or menacing.
  • be grossly offensive to a reasonable person in the position of the affected individual.
  • be indecent or obscene.
  • be used to harass an individual.
  • make a false allegation.
  • contain a matter that is published in breach of confidence.
  • incite or encourage anyone to send a message to an individual for the purpose of causing harm to the individual.
  • incite or encourage another individual to commit suicide.
  • denigrate an individual by reason of his or her colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Though this law does not specifically set out to tackle cyberbullying in schools alone, it has the potential to have big implications for how cyberbullying is dealt with in the country's classroom.

After all, recent studies have shown that students feel most threatened and distracted when bullying is a mixture of in-person and cyber attacks; by defining harmful digital communications in law, discipline for such actions in schools might be an easier feat.

Read more about Turkey's social media ban here and New Zealand's cyberbullying legislation here, and provide your thoughts in the comment section below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/06/2015

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