Growing up in school, regulations are a normality, but as technology advances, schools struggle to regulate media use. During grade 8-9 I found it challenging to abide by the regulations my school placed upon media use. We were unable to use phones from the starting bell through to the finishing bell, and if they were seen they were confiscated till the end of the school day where you could collect them from the office along with a misbehavior note that required you to attend detention the next day at lunchtime.
As my peers and I entered grade 11 and the majority of people in our grade had the latest phone and it became clear to the school that fighting media was only going to create students working around the rules and overall becoming an inconvenience in a technologically driven age. It was at this stage we were presented with Ipad’s on which we could access most things other than social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat. This leniency was appreciated but after a while, students found ways to work around the places they could and couldn’t access on their iPad’s using school wifi. VPN(virtual private network) was the talk of the school, it wasn’t a new advancement but it wasn’t something everyone had heard of, so when it began to spread that there was an app you could get to bypass the regulations, everyone from grade 7-12 installed it. This process of the school developing the regulations to conform to a developing society and students ignoring these regulations was a constant circle of cause and effect, each time the school would lighten and change regulations and each time students would discover a new opportunity to do whatever they like with their media devices in whichever space they were in whether a learning environment or at home. Therefore as you’d expect when students enter university, you’re on overcome with the mass freedom of media usage, especially when doing a communications and media course, where you’re expected to be on your phone during lectures.
Comparing the two experiences is interesting, even though there was more regulation in high school on media use, which you would expect us to allow ourselves to pay more attention to the information we’re given, I find that I retain more information and pay more attention in university classes.
When discussing media regulation with my peers it was mentioned that possibly schools are doing it wrong, instead of regulating students on media use for reasons students aren’t fully aware of, students should be raised and developed into understanding the ethics of using technology and allowing them in later years to regulate themselves in their own media use. As Maria Stalsberg puts simply in her thesis’s abstract “the necessity for educators to embrace new technologies so that students leave school equipped with digital literacies and prepared for their futures in the 21st century.”
We are becoming a society where technology is of massive importance and used in our everyday lives, so when we enter environments outside of the school environment, we haven’t developed our own self-control on media use and regulation. It’s important that instead of treating technology as only a form of entertainment and distraction, we begin to use technology to our advantage in learning, and developing ways in which we can mediate ourselves to ensure we are gaining the most we can from all experiences. It’s clear more research has to be done on schools regulations of media use and whether a whole new approach can be used to change perspectives on media and encourage youth to use media the right way on their own without having to be ‘forced’.
Yeoman, M. (2017). Ensure Online Security in Public Places Using a VPN Service Provider. [online] Socialeyezer. Available at: http://socialeyezer.com/ensure-online-security-public-places-using-vpn-service-provider/ [Accessed 22 Sep. 2017].
Stalsberg, M. (2011). Implementing and utilizing blogs in an upper-elementary classroom to support 21st century learning and motivate writers. [online] Hamline university, pp.1-2. Available at: http://digitalcommons.hamline.edu/hse_all/872/ [Accessed 2 Oct. 2017].
Nbnco.com.au. (2017). What is a VPN? Understanding virtual private networks | nbn – Australia’s new broadband access network. [online] Available at: https://www.nbnco.com.au/blog/education/what-is-a-vpn.html [Accessed 2 Oct. 2017].