Recently, Instagram has become yet another site and app blocked on Jefferson County Public School Wi-Fi, joining both Facebook and Gmail in the JCPS crusade against social media. Of course, most classrooms are not the proper place for using these platforms of communication. They can be distractions at a time when learning should be a priority. Still, this line of thinking ignores how little of an effect these restrictions actually have on focus in the classroom. Banning Instagram is ineffective and causes its own problems.
The most obvious proof of this policy’s ineffectiveness is a student’s ability to use data rather than Wi-Fi. This feature, however, can cost more money, which leads to only those who can afford data being able to access Instagram, Facebook and Gmail. When students use too much data this can add to their plan, and even if they can afford the price, it is still costing more money than is necessary.
When people need to use these programs for classes, they are faced with an inability to use school computers effectively. For example, in classes like RedEye, it is necessary to check the publication’s social media or email someone for an interview, and this policy limits the ability of the staff to do this.
If a teacher does not want students to use their phones, they often put policies in place, such as phone cubbies, to restrict access. These rules are not completely effective, but allowing the teacher to decide when the use of phones is appropriate rather than blocking social media can help in classes where use of these programs is necessary.
After school, Instagram is still blocked, meaning even when there is no expectation of learning students without data are restricted from using this app.
Social media can obviously be used to bully other students, but the ability to use these platforms on school Wi-Fi gives schools more authority to take action. When a student is being bullied at school, teachers can step in to help.
Instagram should not be banned on school Wi-Fi. It causes more inconvenience than the desired effect. It is important in promoting change for teachers and students to contact their school board representative about this issue, and it is especially important for JCPS to stop this crusade.