BEACH-RUIZ MEASURE TO HELP EDUCATE YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA RECEIVES FINAL LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach and Senator Teresa Ruiz that requires the Department of Education to provide instruction on the responsible use of social media was approved today by the Senate.

“Social media has quickly become a standard tool in communication in the classroom between students and educators alike. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that there can be negative and potentially harmful consequences attached to their behavior online,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden, Burlington). “This legislation helps give educators the tools necessary to teach students that posting harmful language and images online could affect their future academic and professional careers.”

The bill, S-2886, requires the Department of Education to provide instruction on the responsible use of social media as part of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in technology for students in grades 6 through 8. The standards should include basics on cyber-safety, cyber-bullying and cyber-ethics, among others.

According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council, 43 percent of teens have reported that they have been victims of cyber-bullying. Other reports show that these numbers are growing.

“Cyber-bullying is becoming a serious problem among children who may not understand the significance of their online actions. It is never too early to teach our youth that actions in the digital world have far-reaching consequences in real life, and this bill goes a long way towards doing that,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex).

The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 59-15-3 last May. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 35-2 and it now heads to the Governor for his approval.