Social media use and the future of the first amendment
More and more, the internet is being used as a tool to obtain news, look up information, and interact with people. Students especially are being taught, and are expected to use, the internet for their scholastic studies. What about student internet usage outside the classroom though?
The Knight Foundation has released a study about student internet usage. They examined the evolution of social networks and internet usage in both students and teachers over time.
One of the most interesting findings of this study was that as students used media more, they had a much higher appreciation for their First Amendment rights. Nearly all students who use social media on a daily basis agree that unpopular opinions should be protected, compared to only slightly over three-quarters of students who never use social media. source
“Students’ use of social networking is also related to other measures of support for the First Amendment. For example, 72 percent of daily social media users agree that students should be allowed to express opinions about teachers and administrators on Facebook without the risk of school discipline, only 56 percent of those who do not use social networks agree with this. Also, 43 percent of daily social media users say that people should be allowed to post videos without permission; only 29 percent of nonusers support this. In addition, while 74 percent of daily social media users say that musicians should be allowed to sing songs with lyrics that might be offensive, only 65 percent of nonusers agree.”
While these findings are less than startling on their own, one portion of the study raises some eyebrows. 61 percent of students, but only 35 percent of teachers, agree that “high school students should be allowed to report controversial issues in their student newspapers without the approval of school authorities.” and 69 percent of students, but only 36 percent of teachers, agree that “students should be allowed to express their opinions about teachers and school administrators on Facebook without worrying about being punished at school for what they say.” even though 95 percent of teachers think that “people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions.” and “newspapers should be allowed to freely publish without government approval of a story”.
Teachers, it seems, are overwhelmingly in support of the First Amendment until they enter a school building.