Ethical issues of social media

Social media and having a social media account has become the norm in society today, this norm has been reproduced so that school children will now likely have an account of their own on a form of social media. I remember begging my mum to let me have a Facebook account when I was 12, even though the age requirement was 16 at the time. This leads me on to the topic of this week’s blog post, the  issues of social media, and I will be looking particularly at school children.

Being at school there are many things to focus on, and now you also must think about your presence on social media. It is a big part of people’s lives these days, and there are many concerns of both teachers and parents when children have access to the internet. Here is a graphic to show a few of the concerns. new-piktochart_882_afcbac2120abaef9876fe0012adfa9471ea8bc6c

If you look back to topic 3, you can see some of the dangers of what can happen when you post of social media, especially Justine Sacco’s story. Therefore, it is so important to educate children when they are at school of the dangers of the internet. Here I have included a short video on internet safety.

When looking at the ethical issues of school children using social media 4 major concerns came about in my research; a code of conduct or legislation being needed, online harassment being a problem, a lack of awareness of who owns the materials placed on social media and how to protect the intellectual property of students who use it, and authenticity of voice which we have touched upon in topic 2.

Social interactionist look at the meanings behind our actions, a key theorist is Foucault. He looked t the ways in which both the state and individuals monitor their own and other behaviour in order to fit into societies rules and norms. This was influenced by the work of Bentham who came up with the idea of the panopticon which is applicable to institutions such as social media as you do not always know who is watching, therefore you must be careful what you are posting online. Therefore school children and everyone else need to be careful about what they are posting online. 43% of teenagers say they would change their behaviour if they knew that their parents were watching them. Thus showing how teens, like many,  act differently online to as opposed to in person. This puts them in danger when participating online.



Here is the link to a a video I made on statistic of children internet usage.

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#ALTC Blog. (2017). Social media in education: ethical concerns. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].

BBC News. (2017). UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows – BBC News. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017]. (2017). the definition of ethical. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017]. (2017). Education World: Schools and Online Social Networking. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017]. (2017). Social Media Statistics | GuardChild. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].

McMullan, T. (2017). What does the panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Panopticon. (2017). [image] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Ronson, J. (2017). How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].

the Guardian. (2017). Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger | Editorial. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Safe Web Surfing: Top Tips for Kids and Teens Online. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].


5 thoughts on “Ethical issues of social media

  1. Callum

    Hi Charley
    Thanks for your post, it was really enjoyable to read!

    I like the look of your graphics but I had difficulty reading what they said, the writing seems a bit blurry.
    I agree it is definitely important to educate children on the use of social media but how do you see this being enforced?

    I was pleased to see your discussion on social interactionists and you raise an extremely interesting point with the Panopticon and how children may act differently if they were truly aware of who was watching them. There is certainly a focus on teachers trying to show pupils how public social media is. On Facebook I often see teachers asking people to share photos to demonstrate the power of social media to children. Do you think a greater awareness could in turn also limit issues such as cyberbullying?


    1. Charley Ridgers Post author

      Hi Callum,
      sorry about the picture quality, i must have downloaded the wrong one by mistake.
      i think school subjects such as ICT and PSHCE would be effective in introducing children to the dangers of social media and how to navigate the web in a safe way, as well as that i believe it is important to educate their parents so that they are aware of what their child could be doing online.
      I do think that greater awareness would reduce the number of issues, the more people that are aware of the dangers, the more people will be on the look out for the warning signs. However, cyberbullying is hard to tackle since the person doing the bullying has the ability to hide behind a screen and therefore to a certain degree hide their own identity. hopefully more awareness would help tackle these problems.

  2. Andy Lau

    Hi Charley,

    I liked the perspective you used for this topic! When speaking of ethical issues on social media, professional work circumstances usually comes to mind first, but you are entirely correct that children at school need to be aware of this too!

    You mention the Justine Sacco story; while there are the dangers of posting on social media, and the possible repercussions on the individual who posted, do you think that this should also be an ethical lesson for children on how to treat others on social media? There is an interesting article that looked into the situation on a personal level with Sacco:

    While it’s evident that people should be aware of possible misconstrued context and meaning in their posts, often people should have the knowledge not to take every post they see at face value!

    I’d love to hear what you think,

  3. Pingback: Topic 4: Reflection | Thoughts from Andy

  4. Pingback: The ethical challenges of social media – A reflection – Callum's blog

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