YouTube, being a social media platform, has often been questioned if it should be allowed in schools.
Given its merits and faults, the use of YouTube in the classroom has often been debated.
Should YouTube be Banned in Schools?
YouTube is host to millions of information materials, including documentaries and instructional videos that can help a student understand lessons. It also has its risks, such as data privacy and possible exposure of the youth to harmful elements.
This article serves as a guide in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of having YouTube as part of the e-learning experience of students.
Table of Contents
Six Reasons Youtube SHOULD Be Banned In Schools:
1. YouTube Relies a Lot on the Internet
This is the weakest link for YouTube for classes as not all schools supply Wi-Fi or steady internet connections that are open to students.
The lack of a reliable Internet connection nullifies all arguments in favor of YouTube. Plain and simple, without the Internet, no one will be able to access YouTube.
Also, even with an Internet connection in the classroom, students accessing YouTube for learning is a bandwidth nightmare.
Letting students access YouTube in schools will eat up a lot of bandwidth. If 500 students in a school simultaneously access YouTube as part of their lessons, expect the Internet connection to slow down.
This will cause a problem for those who may be in shop class, who might be viewing an instructional video for an on-the-spot exercise.
2. Students Could be Viewing Inappropriate Content
This risk is ubiquitous and not limited to the four walls of a classroom: it can be at home or on any mobile device that can access the Internet, as long as the child remains unsupervised.
Since YouTube is a free-for-all of content, students are prone to take advantage of accessing unsuitable content for school. Blocking channels on YouTube will also be impractical.
Not only is it tedious for a school’s IT department to look and block these channels or videos, but students have also become more “resourceful” (i.e., can access blocked websites).
Inappropriate content is also not limited to contents with innuendo, violence, or other derogatory and divisive messages. This can also include advertisements that could entice students to view or purchase products that parents or teachers would deem inappropriate.
It would be a problem if a lecture or documentary video were interrupted by ads that appear in the middle of the video.
3. Students Could Become Exposed to Online Predators
As schools are considered a student’s second home, it is the responsibility of every academic institution to protect the children, especially minors, from online predators, possibly harming them.
Comments on YouTube can be hostile. Students face with strangers who may try to coerce them for inappropriate or illegal actions. While the Internet should be a safe space, there is still that fear that strangers commenting on YouTube will try to prey upon students.
Students may accidentally give out information about themselves in YouTube comment chains or by mentioning that they recognize an area in the video. This could put them in danger and lead dangerous people or criminals to them.
While proper etiquette and a strong Internet safety policy must be upheld, the reality remains that there are still hostile Internet users that would take advantage of student-users.
4. Possible Data Privacy Compromise
Aside from searches being tracked by YouTube and its mother-company Google, there is still that concern that other individuals may try to hack into a student’s account.
YouTube paid 170 million dollars in fines as a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General for violating data privacy of minors. This arose from a complaint that YouTube collected data of minors for advertising without the consent of their parents or legal guardians.
It would also be worth noting that Google also had a string of data privacy violations in the past.
A Google spokesperson admitted that the company scans and catalogs emails of G Suite for Education users for different uses, such as advertising. While Google clarified that these ads are not shown while using the Education suite of the company, it remained evasive over the use of information.
The New York Times reported that former Minnesota Senator Al Franken once wrote to Google on the privacy issues of the company. He pointed out that a lot of Google policies remained unclear and might be going outside its boundaries in data collection.
He also raised the type of data Google gets when students use their accounts but use services outside the company’s education suite.
While YouTube and Google committed to making amends after this case, there are still areas that need to be clarified.
5. Access to YouTube and Other Social Media can Create Self-Esteem Issues with Students
Self-esteem issues also arise from social media platforms such as YouTube.
In an era where the youth try to find their identity, letting them access platforms such as YouTube can create insecurity issues with students. It will disturb them and make them look online for different role models, whose achievements may only make students feel inferior.
The point of having access to platforms like YouTube should be towards character formation and making classes more engaging.
This cannot be done if students are distracted by insecurities they may feel because of online content they are able to see.
6. Some YouTube Videos Are Not Reliable
The proliferation of dubious information is not limited to sites like Facebook and has reached YouTube as well.
There are still questionable videos that have unreliable sources as a basis for information. Also, some videos uploaded for education are promotional in disguise.
The vetting process may take time, considering not everyone has the luxury of going through thousands of videos to filter the reliable from the untrustworthy sources.
Six Reasons Why YouTube Should NOT Be Banned In Schools:
YouTube is host to millions of videos that provide information to students.
As the second-largest search engine next to its mother company, it comes as no surprise that YouTube can become an educational tool.
1. Using YouTube as Part of Education Imbues a Level of Independence to Students
The largest benefit of YouTube is its ability to turn students into independent or self-reliant students.
With the vast number of videos streamed on the site, such as instructional videos and documentaries, students can look for different sources of information and expand their knowledge over a topic.
Teachers can also use YouTube to find instructional videos or documentaries, which they can integrate into the curriculum. For classes with practical applications, students could be assigned to work on a project based on an instructional video.
Documentaries may also be assigned for humanities-rooted classes, which will help students understand the lesson. Teachers could then grade their students based on his understanding of a documentary, or how a project turns out based on an instructional video assigned.
2. YouTube Helps Curate Materials to Supplement Learning
YouTube helps teachers curate videos that help students understand lessons in class.
It is also suggested that these playlists could be used as supporting materials for topics in classes where discussions on topics can be curated.
Online discussions can be held, and students may post their reactions and understanding.
This system can be integrated with other discussion platforms, which can also help in organizing questions on the materials students watch.
3. Helps Students Understand Lessons at a Comfortable but Reasonable Pace
One of the challenges of teachers is pacing a subject according to the different comprehension levels of students.
Some students are more adept at comprehending subjects, while others are not as gifted in quickly understanding a lesson. And there are times subject matters are hard.
For Christopher Pappas of elearningindustry.com, the integration of YouTube also augments comprehension challenges, as videos can help students visualize complicated theories or ideas.
By providing images that correspond to terms in a topic, students can retain knowledge easily.
He also added that note-taking skills are developed. By letting students view and replay a video, they will be able to prepare substantial notes for exercises.
Teachers may likewise have students prepare short reactions based on their understanding of a clip through online exercises or assignments.
4. Learning is Not Limited to the Classroom
Another good point of integrating YouTube in a curriculum is the ability to take the lessons outside the classroom.
The ability to take the lessons on the go and watch them on any smartphone or computer lets students view the lessons given by the teacher. As long as an Internet connection is present, any student can view the video the teacher presented in class.
This will be useful for students who may want to review their lessons while waiting for their ride home, or students who may want to sneak quick study sessions in the car.
Also, having lectures uploaded on YouTube eliminates the need for parents to hire a tutor. Teachers can give supplementary materials to help students understand their lessons.
Likewise, teachers may also opt to upload replays of their lectures for quick recall, and for the benefit of students who may have missed class.
5. Encourages Collaboration Among Peers
Not only can students benefit from YouTube in classrooms, even teachers as well.
Teachers can use videos that are aligned with the curriculum made by other teachers in other schools. This will be beneficial to smaller schools that don’t have enough resources to produce their video materials for lectures.
Fellow educators can reach out to each other and collaborate on future materials. They can share ideas and methodologies, and come up with videos that teachers outside their network can use for their respective classes.
6. YouTube is Free
One of YouTube’s greatest strengths is its free access.
As it is, anyone can use YouTube, even without a Google account. These videos cost nothing to buy and remove the need to invest periodically for an updated video library of video materials for different subjects.
While a free account will be prone to inappropriate content through pop-up advertisements, schools can opt to sign-up for enterprise accounts through G-Suite for Education, which provides better filtering of content.
YouTube in schools is like the sharpest knife in your tool shed.
When used properly, it can shape minds most wonderfully, empowering kids to learn and reach their goals. In the wrong hands, it becomes a liability that puts the welfare of students at risk.
Should YouTube be used in schools, it must come with a strong Internet Safety policy that will protect the welfare of all stakeholders, as well as hold accountable those who may abuse these privileges.
If your school can take on the possible headaches YouTube can bring into academia, then, by all means, integrate YouTube in the curriculum. But if your school cannot handle these issues, then it should consider another media platform for e-learning.