Digital dilemma: school’s underestimate power of social media

Joel Herrera, Editor-in-chief

While schools have always had a place right at the heart of the community, these institutions now face increasing pressure to play a part in the digital community as well.

The growing importance of social media and online discussion for schools was highlighted recently by CBS Chicago news which showed just how central the internet has become in influencing parents’ choice of school for their children.

On April 13, the news station covered a story on the Eisenhower school lunchroom when one student started posting on her Instagram account about what was being served in the cafeteria here at our school. The social media account gained so much attention that it made several students criticize the school’s lunch program.

In today’s society, parents will be considering every aspect of a school, including their reputation. Social media makes it easy for students, parents and even teachers to share their experiences, opinions, and thoughts online, some of which may not be the most appealing.

Complaints and reviews especially tend to be subjective and often inaccurate. Smartphones make it easier than ever for people to take pictures and videos and share them on social media, some of which often portray a school in a negative light.

Schools, however, can only do so much to combat the criticism that comes with a students freedom in online speech. Parents must continue to monitor their children and teach them how to use the internet properly. It is important that students understand the line between promoting change and disrupting a student’s education.

The digital culture will continue to have a significant impact on how schools both listen to and interact with their audiences, and schools can not simply rely on old methods to attract parents and their children.

But it’s also important not to get too distracted by chatter on social media. A school should never allow itself to lose sight of its core values and objectives because of something said online.