Earlier in June 2019, the Department of Education (DepEd) released a reminder that it prohibits the use of social media in class projects, according to a report by ABS-CBN News. The announcement comes after the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) appealed to schools.
The DepEd recognizes social media as a tool for collaboration and communication, but it could also be a platform for gaming apps, online selling, and other services, as well as different multimedia content. “It opens the door to one’s identity in the world wide web, making young learners prone to different cyber threats,” read the statement, which was shared on Facebook.
The reminder listed several possible problematic issues that students may encounter when using social media for school projects and homework.
- Group chat features “that has adult content, which can elicit malicious and incorrect values to learners.”
- It may open doors to “cyberbullying, identify theft, online gambling, pornography, and market fraud,” which can cause isolation, humiliation, and trauma.
- It can be a distraction, and adversely affect the study habits of learners, which can lead to poor performance.
- It can cause learners to lie to their parents about being online; they can “easily say that they are waiting for the teachers’ assignment post.”
DICT strongly discourages the use of Facebook, including teachers sending group assignments through Facebook Messenger, as it exposes the kids to more online risks, being the most popular social media platform in the country. “As long as it is official, it is okay to give online assignments, but these must not be relayed through social media,” DICT Cybersecurity Policy Head Genalyn Macalinao told Philippine News Agency.
The agency suggests using email or the school’s existing official online platforms instead of social media. DepEd adds that schools should opt to use open-source Learning Management Systems (LMS), such as Edmodo, Schoology, Google Classroom, Nearpod, and Socrative to support schools’ e-learning requirements.
“Hindi bawal na turuan ang bata ng social media. In fact, kailangan nga natin silang turuan kasi they have to know the advantages and disadvatnages of social media,” spokesperson and DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla told ABS-CBN News. Social media literacy is incorporated into the K-12 Curriculum.
The DICT, together with DepEd, seeks to formalize the directive through a memorandum circular on child online protection which is set to be released within this year. Parents are advised to be in constant communication with their kids and monitor their online activities even at an early age.