I have been hearing a lot of the same argument about social media lately and it has been stuck in my head. There is an idea that young people do not know how to interact because they are always on their phones. This is not about one or the other, but about teaching skills and understanding of conversation and communication in multiple ways. Many glorify a student intently focused on reading a book, yet when it is on a device, many refer to it as “checking out”. They are not necessarily the same thing, but our bias often comes from what we are comfortable with, as opposed to what is new.
Often when this question is posed, my response is, “How much do you use social media yourself?” The usual answer is “not very much.”
My belief is not that students should not have face-to-face interactions. I have always said that face-to-face is better, but not always possible. But what is also true, is that the ability to communicate both online and offline are important; we cannot simply it is one or the other. There are some powerful opportunities when we can have a conversation in person, but there is also some amazing opportunities through connecting through social media.
One thing that is important to note, when I went to school, there were students that were not comfortable having face-to-face conversations. This has nothing to do with devices (there were none at the time), but just who they were at people. Some of those same kids, now have opportunities to feel they have a voice for the first time, and schools need to provide options, not an either/or narrative.