In a recent report, Data Solutions, an Irish IT distributor, announced the results of a survey, which revealed that 75% of Irish students use social networking site, Facebook, as their main channel for communicating online with only 6% preferring to use email.
The Blue Coat survey, which was completed in June 2011, interviewed 164 Irish students in secondary school and at third level, to determine how this generation is currently communicating.
From a primary level point of view, we need to sit up and take notice of this. How many of us teach social networking to our pupils? Probably close to none. While only a small survey, the results clearly show that social media sites are a far more dominant channel for communication among young people than traditional email.
While Facebook was the clear leader with 88% of respondents saying they have a Facebook account, I don’t think we need to focus on one social network. There are already a number of social networks aimed at the under-13 market, such as Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters. Children are using these sites; some of them are using them badly, which means that it’s likely they’ll continue to do so when they’re older, unless lessons are taught.
Looking even further into the future, Michael O’Hara, managing director, Data Solutions commented on the
results, with respect to when these students enter the workforce:
“This will bring up a whole set of new issues for employers.”
Following this, Nigel Hawthorn, Blue Coat Systems said, “When today’s students enter the workforce they will be completely in tune with the new ways of communicating and collaborating online, as most are already using social networking sites, blogs, Skype or instant messaging. Employers now need to look at new ways to facilitate their needs and expectations. ”
If we’re not starting these kinds of lessons in primary school and keep teaching children to use things they just won’t use in adulthood – and I’m only guessing here – things like PowerPoint and Email, we’re probably not giving them the start they might need when they reach 13.
Thanks to Niamh O’Sullivan from Comit Communications & Marketing for sending the information to us.