Teachers come after TikTok and Facebook over 'devious licks'

Do not scold teachers.
The National Education Association (NEA), a labor organization representing teachers of all types across the U.S., has warned three CEOs of major social media platforms that their platforms encourage and amplify dangerous trends among students. The teachers don't hesitate to call out names.

NEA president Rebecca S. Pringle argued in a letter to Jack Dorsey (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg), TikTok CEO Shou Z Chew (published by the Wall Street Journal), that social media platforms' policies not only drive kids to deceitful licks but also put teachers in serious danger.

She wrote that "online 'trends' have spread like wildfire through social media platforms, from stealing school property to hitting school staff to conspiracy theories about curriculum and coronavirus protocol have helped create an environment of fear and violence with educators being targets." In the Oct. 8 letter.

Mashable was told by a Twitter spokesperson that they had received the NEA letter and intended to respond. We reached out to TikTok and Facebook for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

According to the NEA, the letter was written in response to student-led social media trends that made headlines. Some were harmless, such as the devious licks trend, where kids used soap dispensers to boost school property for social media likes. Some, such as the "slap a Teacher" TikTok trend, would be more dangerous if they were true.

It seems, however, that we shouldn't be concerned about the children.

Pringle's letter highlighted another danger that social media has influenced: teachers are being affected by parents.

"Take, for instance, the alarming rise of a small but deadly group of radicalized adults that falsely believe that graduate-level courses about racism are being taught to K-12 public school students because of misinformation distributed on social media," she wrote. She was likely referring to an online debate over critical race theory. "There is another vocal, but small, extremist group that puts the safety of our children and educators at risk because they believe wearing a mask infringes on individual liberty.

In other words: While dumb trends are headline-grabbing, social media radicalizing parents may be a greater threat for teachers' safety. This topic is very much on the nation’s mind after Frances Haugen's testimony Tuesday to the U.S. Senate.

SEE ALSO: Facebook whistleblower claims Zuckerberg placed safety first and gave bonuses

According to the NEA who is "demanding" a pledge of public safety from Facebook, Twitter and TikTok the teachers will not let this slip. With a little luck, maybe they will even be able to get this demand trending.