College Bans Facebook and Twitter

harrisburg-universityThe Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania has banned the use of all social media for a week. The ban proscribes the use of any online communication except for email, including Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging. Students will be allowed to continue to use text messages, and presumably BlackBerry Messenger.

University Provost Eric Darr says he’s not anti-technology, nor even anti-social media, he just wants students to examine the means of their daily communication. He thinks of the prohibition as an experiment to make students more aware, not a punishment. “Often, there are behaviors or habits, ways that we use technology that we may ourselves not even be able to articulate because we’re not aware of them,” said Darr in an NPR interview.

The social media blackout had a mixed reception from students. “I’m going to have a hard time not being able to tell people where I’m at, being able to find people,” said Ashley Harris, a senior at Harrisburg. “I use Facebook and Twitter to find people at school, to see where they’re at, where they’re studying.” But other students found the ban posed less of a problem. “I’m not a big fan of Facebook or any of those social networking sites,” said another student. “I think I’ll be fine. I can’t say the same for the rest of the students.”

Students will be asked to write essays about their experience after the week-long ban concludes.

Also Read:

Report Weighs the Benefits and Risks of Social Networks

Out of the World Social Networking


SEC Bans Social Media in College Stadiums








7 Responses to “College Bans Facebook and Twitter”

  1. Stephanie Chasteen says:

    This type of “media fast” actually isn’t so new. See the post by SidneyEve on our site from a few months back — http://theactiveclass.com/2010/04/06/tech-fasts-millennials-unplugged/. She says this is the sort of thing that GenXers impose on GenYers. She says: ” Do students in higher ed today fail to articulate about the place of mobile technologies, social networks, and digital media in their lives? Not my students. In fact, no awkward (and some would argue, unethical and heavy-handed) tech-fast assignment is necessary in order to get students passionately engaged in excellent discussions, reflecting, critiquing, questioning, and contextualizing their everyday media use. All we need to do is create opportunities for them to share and discuss, online or off.”

    But she does agree that there are benefits to creating some awareness around the uses of technology, and I agree. I don’t think it’s silly. Especially since often students aren’t aware of how “digitally distracted” they are, and how these types of things are affecting their schoolwork. Just because he’s interested in raising awareness doesn’t mean he thinks these things are necessarily bad. These are powerful tools, with some potential for mis-use, and we are interacting with people in fundamentally different ways than we were 10 years ago. Isn’t that worth some reflection?


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