Social Media Awareness

[Month and Year approved by your committee]

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of …………………………………………………………………………………….

…..in…………

Abstract

The School District of Philadelphia was established in 1818 and has 214 of the 300 public schools. 149 are elementary schools, 16 are middle school and 49 are high schools. As social media continue becoming dominant in the present world, taking measure to ensure online safety is important. This is important especially because research has indicated that children are starting to use social media at the age of 10 and by the time they are 12, they will have sent a message to a stranger. The purpose of the current research will be to propose the Philadelphia School District a Social media awareness program. The research is informed by social learning theory as proposed by Albert Bandura where he observed that learning is a cognitive process that occurs in a social context and can occur through observation or direct instructions. The research will thus aim at determining the benefits of having a social media awareness program identify possible barriers associated with the implementation of the program, investigate the theoretical framework that can be used to implement the program and to find out if the current learning curriculum incorporates social media education. The research design to be used in the research will be a cross-sectional analytical survey. A sample of 86 will be identified through a multi-cluster sampling technique. Research instruments to be used in the research will include interviews and questionnaires. Results will be analyzed according to the research objectives, data collected systematically and analyzed using tables and presented graphically. The research will also be conducted with regard to established ethical considerations.

Keywords: sexting, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, Kidblog, social media

Table of Contents
Introduction 1
Statement of the Problem 2
Thesis Statement 2
Research Hypothesis 2
Research Question 2
Research Objectives 3
Literature Review 3
Research Methodology 5
Research Design 5
Study Location 5
Target Population 5
Sampling Techniques 5
Research Instruments 6
Results and Analysis 6
Ethical Considerations 7
References 8

1

Introduction

The School District of Philadelphia was founded in 1818 and includes all public schools in Philadelphia. As social media continues to dominate todays daily life irrespective of age differences safety issues have become key concerns. Approximately more than half of children are becoming accustomed to the social network by the age of 10. Facebook tops the list as the highly used social site where children have signed up accounts regardless of their under-age. WhatsApp, BBM and Snapchat and Ask.fm are other social sites commonly used by teens and children.[footnoteRef:1] Only 32% of parents feel that the 59% of children accessing social media by the age of 10 are safe. The School District of Philadelphia has 214 of the 300 public schools. 149 are Elementary schools, 16 are middle schools, and 49 high schools.[footnoteRef:2] Approximately 59% of children will have used a social network site by the age of 10 and 43% have sent a message to a stranger at the age of 12.[footnoteRef:3] Regardless of the benefits of using social media such as remaining in touch with friends using social media exposes children to various risks.[footnoteRef:4] [1: Daily Mail,. (2014). More than half of children use social media by the age of 10. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552658/More-half-children-use-social-media-age-10-Facebook-popular-site-youngsters-join.html] [2: School Reform Commission (SRC),. (2015). School Reform Commission – The School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved from http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/s/src/] [3: Ibid] [4: Ibid
]

Kids and children using social media are exposed to sexting, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and identify theft. Therefore, developing a social media awareness program for Philadelphia School District will go a long way in ensuring the kids and teens remain safe while using social media. A school is uniquely placed as a medium for passing information not only to the kids and teens, but also to the teachers and parents. The school district can make it mandatory for schools to teach, inform and educate students while making it mandatory for parents and teachers to also do the same.

Statement of the Problem

Developing and implementing a social media awareness program in the Philadelphia School District will ensure safety for the kids and teens while using social media networks.

Thesis Statement

The social media awareness program will ensure kids and teens safety while using social media. Restricting kids and teens from using social media is not an option not even to parents who have a close contact with the kid or teen. Moreover, social media is here to stay. Considering that children are increasingly using social media regardless of the age limitations in the social media sites, having an awareness program will enhance their safety. Implementing the program in School District of Philadelphia will ensure that the risks are eliminated or minimized.

Research Hypothesis

Implementing a social media awareness program in the School District of Philadelphia will lead to cyber safety for students while using social media.

Research Question

RQ1. To find out steps being used to promote social media safety

RQ2. To find out how effective the steps being used are effective

RQ3. To find out the cost that will be involved in the social media awareness program

RQ4. To find out the benefits of implementing social media awareness program at a large scale to the whole school district.

Research Objectives

The main purpose of the current paper is to propose the Philadelphia School District a Social Media Awareness Program. To fully achieve this objective, the main purpose is subdivided into various smaller objectives;

To determine the benefits of having a social media awareness program

To find out the barriers associated with the implementation of the program

To investigate theoretical frameworks that can be used to implement the program

To find out if the current school curriculum incorporates social media education

Literature Review

The use of social media is a huge reality, and it has become a common activity for many children and adolescents. Social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter usage among the kids and teens have significantly increased. Moreover online game sites and online virtual space like Second Life have become famous among school going kids.[footnoteRef:5] In the recent past, posting and sharing of photographs and videos through YouTube and blogs has become a trend.[footnoteRef:6] The risks of social media such as cyberbullying interfere with the school atmosphere especially among children and teens. However, the passage of anti-bullying law mobilized school district staffs to come up with more efficient and inclusive prevention and intervention efforts. Furthermore, it gave a justification for the use of study time and staff resources to address cyberbullying and amplified the consciousness of the importance of this growing problem. In addition, district schools have expanded anti-bullying curriculum and social media awareness across all grade schools. Many district schools were not aware of the efforts being implemented by major social networking sites to prevent cyber-bullying incidents. However, schools have now expressed the need to have an up-to-date resource from social media sites and social media prevention strategies.[footnoteRef:7] [5: Ibid] [6: O’Keeffe, G., Clarke-Pearson, K., & Council on Communications and Media. (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 127, (4), 800-804.
] [7: Shari, K.S, Erin, S. & Lydia, O., (2013). Social Media and Cyber bullying. Implementation of School-Based Prevention Efforts and Implications for Social Media Approaches. Education Development Center.
]

Creating and implementing a social media awareness program can be involving and expensive. However, through innovative programs, the objectives of having an awareness program can be achieved. Through gaming, some classes can be offered in an online environment. An introduction to these classes should always be on time management and being safe while on the internet. Analogies and student-generated projects are another way that social media awareness can be enhanced in the schools. Investigative role-playing is another innovative way that the program can be incorporated into the current curriculum.[footnoteRef:8] Teaching students about safe blogging will ensure safety while blogging. Some schools have already started using Kidblog to create awareness and bring safe blogging into the classroom. With Kidblog, teens or children can experience and emulate adults world of blogging, but in a controlled environment where safety lessons are incorporated. Creating a social media class and creating a virtual hallway in a school setting ensures kids and children learn about social media under a watchful eye of the teacher. Other ways in which social media awareness program can be enhanced in the school include; Inviting guest speakers, letting the students be the teachers and using third-party resources. [8: Ibid]

Research Methodology

Research Design

The research will be based on a cross-sectional analytical survey that will be aimed at establishing mechanisms or processes that can be used to promote social media awareness program at a large scale to the whole school district. Cross-sectional analytical survey has several advantages.[footnoteRef:9] The School District of Philadelphia has 214 of the 300 public schools that include 149 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, and 49 high schools. [9: Muller, K. H., & Tos, N. (January 01, 2010). Editorial – introduction: Survey research in the age of science II: new challenges, perspectives, and designs. E-wisdom, 3, 5-8.
]

Study Location

The research will be carried out in 86 public schools (62 elementary schools, 18 high schools, and six middle schools)

Target Population

The research will target major stakeholders in the education sector. The research will target, education administrators in the district of Philadelphia, School teaching staff, pupils and parents in each of the identified school.

Sampling Techniques

The research will apply a multi-stage cluster sampling to select respondents and schools. The research will divide the district of Philadelphia into primary units. Each of the units will be allocated a smaller cluster depending on the number of schools. The clusters will form the secondary sampling units. The smaller clusters in each of the unit will further be segmented to form tertiary units. The required number of schools will then be obtained through simple random sampling.

Research Instruments

Research administered questionnaires will have both open and closed ended questions. The questionnaire will be necessary for collecting data from the schools respondents. Questionnaires are efficient in data collection. With the current research, questionnaires will be sent to the identified schools in advance. The questionnaires will be dived such that some will go the teaching staff, students, school administration, and parents. Sending the questionnaire in advance will give the respondents ample time to go through the questionnaires and answer them without pressure.[footnoteRef:10] Questionnaires ensure high accuracy since the respondents answer the questions as per the guidelines. In open-ended questions, respondents will able to give their ideas and feelings social media awareness programs. With the closed questions, respondents are able to give limited information as required by the interviewer. Interviews will also form part of the instruments used. The interviews will be informal and unstructured. Interviews will be used to dig out any additional information that may not be covered by questionnaires. With interviews, one can build a rapport with the respondents and, therefore, promote advanced probing. [10: Ibid.]

Results and Analysis

Once the research is through, all data will be collected systematically and analyzed. The data collected will be grouped in terms of the objectives of the current research. From the results, it will be possible analyze some of the innovative ways that social media awareness can be incorporated into the classroom to enhance safety. In addition, it will give a picture of how the social awareness program will be beneficial to the school District of Philadelphia. Finally, it will be possible to determine the challenges or barriers that may hamper the effectiveness of the program. The collected data will be presented graphically and table form.

Ethical Considerations

The current research will commence once approval and a permission letter obtained from the school. A research permit will also be requested from the relevant government agency. With these documents, it will be easy to get permission from the school district education board in Philadelphia. Finally, there will be written consent forms that will be signed by the respondents affirming their willingness and assuring them of confidentiality.[footnoteRef:11] Respondents will also be informed that the information provided will only be used for the purposes of this research and anonymity will be highly observed. Where children or kids participation will be required, consent from parents, guardian and schools will be sought. [11: Wake Forest University. (2012). Research ethics: Reexamining key concerns. Journal of law, medicine & ethics, 40.
]