Classroom Technology

Teacher’s Facebook Post on Students’ Social Media Secrets Goes Viral

By Benjamin Herold — March 13, 2018 2 min read
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“That I’m on it till like 2 a.m. every day.”

“I can delete my sent messages.”

“That I have a secret rant account.”

“I swear so much & talk sh-t on everyone. I get nudes. From boys I don’t even know.”

“You can send nudes recive nudes sext buy drugs password pictures delete texts buy bongs, pipes, hucca, video of nudes.”

“Theirs a lot of ciber bullying, sexting, porn. And people that don’t care about you and try to make you feel like crap.”

Those are just some of the responses that teacher Skipper Coates says her 9th graders offered after she asked them to complete the sentence “What my parents don’t know about social media is...”

Coates, who teaches science at Pleasant Grove Junior High in Utah’s 79,000-student Alpine School District, shared the responses on a Facebook post that has gone viral.

“Working in a Junior High is really interesting,” she began the March 8 post. “I see these little people in their most awkward and most emotional stage of life.”

As part of her ongoing efforts to better understand her students, Coates wrote, she gave them the exercise at the end of a recent class, asking them to fill out index cards.

“You guys,” Coates wrote when she posted some of the responses. “The answers were SICKENING. Heartbreaking. Depressing. Parents of the world, WAKE UP. Your kids are living in a world that you are not invited to be a part of.”

Concerns about students and social media are nothing new. Last year, Education Week highlighted a sampling of the controversies that have landed students in trouble. Hate speech, cyberbullying, sexting, threats of violence and school shootings—it can often seem like an epidemic.

School leaders are wrestling with how to respond. Digital citizenship efforts have taken off. Schools have landed in hot water for trying to access students’ social media passwords, or for infringing upon students’ First Amendment rights. There’s a budding cottage industry around vendors purporting to help schools automate the monitoring of student social media posts.

Clearly, the nation’s principals are concerned. We’ll be exploring their perspectives and experiences in more depth for next month’s Technology Counts special report.

But it seems clear that they have good reason to worry.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.