School children have been warned against showing off to impress their friends on social media following a video trend that sees pupils post videos of classroom misbehaviour online.
Educating pupils on the use of social media is a "must", said Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hamadi, Minister of Education, during a media education forum in Ajman.
“We are living through a revolution in the media industry ... it’s essential to educate pupils on the positive and negative impact of the use of social media. The country’s curriculum focuses on equipping pupils with subjects related to social media platforms."
A recent video that was widely shared showed pupils at a Government school in Sharjah dancing and singing in a classroom, jumping on the desks and clapping while their teacher looked on. Mr Al Hamadi said action was taken after the video drew criticism among parents and community members.
“Measures have been taken regarding the incident,” he said.
The teacher in the video, who at one point is also seen dancing, has been relocated to a school in Al Dhaid. The mobile phone of the pupils involved were also confiscated.
Last year, another popular video showed a group of pupils mimicking the traditional Yola dance in a classroom. Other videos also emerged of youngsters replicating the dance in vehicles.
Ghufran Maher, a pupil at Al Madhab high school in Fujairah, said some people take pictures or videos for everything they see, even harmful situations.
“Some pupils imitate wrong doings by others, they just want to follow the trend,” she said.
“Dancing or misbehaving in classrooms is offensive – those pupils involved just want to become popular and famous on social media platforms."
Ghufran participated in the forum, presenting a video about the importance of social media.
Adel Hassan, 17, a pupil at Al Ameer School for boys in Umm Al Quwain, said: “I saw this video. I think the teacher entered the classroom and found the pupils dancing. It is unacceptable, but maybe they were just having a bit of fun.”
Adel also said some of his peers take videos while speeding in their cars, but they have been given advice on how to behave responsibly.
“Community police and officials from Etisalat lectured us about social media platforms. Also, we have been warned about Blue Whale (the supposed online 'suicide game'),” said Mr Hassan.
A teacher at a private school in Sharjah, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that youngsters’ behaviour has worsened over the years.
“There are several reason that contribute to the deterioration in pupils’ behaviour, including watching negative practices on social media and on television. Youngsters’ exposure to almost everything [online] has also affected their behaviour,” she said.
“Children as young as seven years old have mobile phones and I do not understand how their parents allowed them to have them.”
Sarah Ali, a student at Al Madhab high school, said that some pupils use social media to bully others.
“So many pupils comment negatively on videos posted on social media. They need to mind their own business.”