Social media access in K-12 schools: Intractable policy controversies in an evolving world

June Ahn, Lauren K. Bivona, Jeffrey Discala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of social media in public primary and secondary education (K-12) presents schools with numerous obstacles and constraints. Educators might use new media to enrich the classroom, but there are also accounts of grave student misconduct (such as cyber bullying) and legal liabilities for school districts. Education leaders and policymakers face difficult questions of how to promote access and use of technology while safeguarding children. In this paper, we present a frame analysis of several policy forces that govern technology use in K-12 schools. The paper highlights how an evolving, technology-mediated society and traditional education institutions create competing policy frames. These conflicting policy frames lead to intractable controversies that threaten student opportunities to access and learn with new media tools. Such an outcome may have negative repercussions in literacy, learning, and workforce development. This paper discusses several key policy controversies and offers suggestions for ways that K-12 institutions can set policy to facilitate technology in schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 2011


  • Education policy
  • Educational technology
  • Information policy
  • Media literacy
  • Social media
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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