Seems like a big question but I think the answer is rather simple: show them the benefits and risks of web 2.0.
In Germany we have a big discussion about so called “Killer Spiele – Killer Games” as our conservative political parties see the reason for the killing sprees we had at a couple of schools in the last years in these. They basically blame ego shooters like Counter Strike and others to motivate kids to kill other kids.
And as we all know, this does not stop if politicians get once started. So other games with similar options get on the radar, too. Basically games like World of Warcraft get on the list for their possible addiction risks and so on and so forth. Problem is: the people who are discussing and deciding about these issues never ever saw a game like this, not talking of playing one.
But then some young politicians of the bavarian CSU (Christ Socialist Party) had a brilliant idea. Their party “fights” on the front to ban “killer games” in Germany. As they knew that basically all of their party friends of a certain age never had contact to no matter what kind of modern computer game they organized the first “Parlamentarischer Spieleabend” – parlamentary gamer evening.
They invited their colleagues to play a wide range of games covering “harmless” ones on the Nintendo Wii but also those famous killer games. They also invited professional esport players, so young guys who earn money playing in world wide leagues. Basically like football but on the PC and including Counterstrike and other tactical shooters. They explained to the politicians why they play killer games and so on.
Of course, this did not change the minds by 180° but it was the first time a real dialogue took place and also the first time politicians tried out what they were talking about for months.
Back to Social Media. I think schools should do the same with parents. Instead of letting them alone with their imagination and assumptions teachers should invite parents in the school and give some little seminars about what their kids are doing and why it is all so fascinating.
This would set free various synergy effects, I think. First of all the whole Social Media world would be demystified as I don’t think the kids will sit down with their parents and explain them Facebook and Twitter.
Parents will listen to the risks and if they get an objective overview from the teachers and they finally know what is going on behind “closed doors” parents can guide their children more effectively.
And in the end it will also help the teachers to implement the use of Social Media in the classroom. If everyone knows what is happening there is no need to ban it anymore, right?
If it is done right this could be the beginning of something big. All you need is to print out some invites to the parents and get the ball rolling.