Student use of social media: when should the university intervene?
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The phenomenal growth in the use of social media in the past 10 years has dramatically and irreversibly changed the way individuals communicate and interact with one another. While there are undoubtedly many positives arising out of the use of social media, irresponsible or inappropriate use can have significant negative consequences. In the university setting, comments posted on widely accessible forums such as Facebook, and seen by other students or staff, can damage reputations, create personal distress and compromise academic integrity. So how should universities deal with this problem? This article describes the findings of a research project undertaken in 2011 to address this question. Given that many students would regard their Facebook pages and Facebook groups as their own private space, one of the key goals of the project was to establish appropriate limits for university interference in these matters. Another was to develop a categorisation model for dealing with inappropriate or irresponsible comments that have been detected or reported.
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