This past month, students across HHS were shocked and excited to discover that Instagram — a popular social networking app which allows users to post, like, and comment on personal photographs — had been unblocked on the school’s WiFi connection. My fellow classmates and I were of course overjoyed to find out that we no longer had to waste personal gigabytes on scrolling through our friends’ selfies and artsy pictures, but some teachers were not so optimistic. They felt that access to these sites would cause a distraction in the classroom and take away learning. So the real question is, will unblocking Instagram be a generous gift to students at HHS as they pass time at lunch and after school, or a fatal mistake which will result in lower test scores, lower grades, and lower attention in class overall?
In my opinion, Instagram is one of the better social networking apps. It encourages creativity and meeting new people without the danger of having all of your personal information on display. In addition to just my friends and classmates, I follow Instagrammers from Australia, France, Germany and Hawaii. Actually, many groups at our own school use “Insta” for publicity and important announcements. National Honor Society, Student Council, and Drama Club all have their own accounts, to name a few (follow us @ _hhsindian for some of the best pictures on the web).
Like anything in life, Instagram is fine in moderation. Spending hours upon hours transfixed to that little screen is by no means acceptable, I think any high school student would agree. But in my experience, Instagram does not absorb too much time, or even require the user’s full attention. It is mostly something to quickly scroll through when we have a free 5-10 minutes.
People who worry about Instagram being unblocked forget one important thing: the app may not have been on the WiFi but students could still access it by simply turning off their WiFi connection and using their own wireless signal. It was never a major issue before, and most likely won’t be now. Having been often stranded after school awaiting a ride or sitting at lunch and remembering a cool photo to show my friends, I believe Instagram can be used in the high school without interrupting the learning that takes place.