Posted in ECI 830

The Power of Social Media…

Social Media is very powerful!

Just as social media is powerful in providing people with unimagined connections, opportunities, education and pretty much anything. At the other end of the spectrum it can be very damaging, life threatening and sometimes pushes people to the extreme of suicide as in the case of Jessica Laney.

Unfortunately, as cyber bullying statistics grow, so does human nature’s protective response. According to research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for Canada, those who have access to the internet and electronic communications are often unable to tell the difference between cyber bullying, harassment and harmless jokes or teasing. Many teens do not think that cyber bullying is a big deal.

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Photo Credit: bruckerrlb via Flickr Slide

The power of social media is often beyond our comprehension or wildest imagination. Kyle stated, “As a society, attention is always drawn to the most sensationalist, negative, dangerous stories or people.” As we become bombarded with statistics about Cyber Bullying, texting and driving, drinking and driving, sexualization of children & youth, various syndrome’s effecting our brains, it is very common to over react. Over sensationalized events through media is a consistent strategy of the media and its supporters. On the other hand, I don’t believe it should be brushed to the side. Statistics are studied for a reason, are real and need to be addressed accordingly. Even though the nostalgia of our childhood lingers as we remember the ‘good old days,’ the concerns are valid and should be kept at the forefront of our teaching practices, parenting, teacher development, relationship building and daily conversations.

I used to believe that if I sat too close to the TV, it would ruin my eyes. I remember when my cousins sat right in front of the TV and I was genuinely concerned for them. Just as this was a concern so many years ago, nobody worries about sitting too close to the TV. Now, there are concerns for people who sit in front of a computer all day or children who spend too many hours playing video games. In fact, these individuals become more vulnerable for developing Computer Vision Syndrome.

As much as I love technology and social media, me concerns are still there! Due to inequalities in society, education, parenting, access to technology, etc. parents do not understand the development of their own children from the time of conception. Some parents start looking up information on the internet right away and go out to the book store to find the latest child development information. Unfortunately, there are many parents who do not research, and as a result, their child(ren) is/are more likely to suffer from a developmental delay(s) or struggle in a significant way.  I used to be an assistant in the Discovery Preschool years ago before I was a teacher and the same concerns were apparent then. Parents need to be more accountable for the choices made during child rearing. The power of knowledge and understanding can change how parents will rear their children despite obstacles such as socioeconomic status or the amount of education they’ve had. I continuously thought about how to provide this information to parents by asking the questions? Shouldn’t information be mandatory or automatically shown via videos on the subject in the waiting room? I mean, the news is on or TV shows are on. Shouldn’t child rearing information be ‘forced,’ so to speak, at the doctor’s office or in the hospital before parents can take their children home.

Such an interesting video explaining the intricate ways in which infants learn at such a young age and how it is linked to the importance of relationships.

In many ways, I feel that there is a link between children who were not provided with proper developmental opportunities through child rearing and children who make poor choices with social media as they grow older. If decision making, face to face relationships, comprehension, and sympathy skills are not developed at a young age, it seems logical that effective decisions will not be made as children and in adolescent years.

By the time children come to school, it is ‘too late’  for them in a number of ways if particular areas of their brain are not developed between conception and 2 years of age. It makes teaching children the curriculum that much more difficult.

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I was pleased to read the blog by Samantha Goodyear. Her insight into social media is in-depth, mature, and logical. She made some valid points about the concerns for youth today but was able to support her view of the many valuable benefits of being an active, aware, and smart social media participant. She is a high school student who is choosing to use social media as a tool for spreading positive comments and compliments. She explains that social media can be used for good rather than evil and is hoping by starting a new ‘trend,’ more youth will use this platform to share their voice in a more uplifting and positive way.

Do I believe that social media is ruining our children? No, I do not! I just think that being aware of the impact on children, the impact on child rearing, brain development, and the importance of understanding its  harmful effects is important to keep at the fore front of our minds as educators. It is something I have struggled with since I worked with pre-school children. I often thought that a lot of damage had been done before they started pre-school. On the other hand, I was glad they were in the pre-school program so that they had more opportunity to meet developmental milestones. At the time, few pre-school programs existed and iPads, laptops, and smart phones were not around.

Ultimately, there is only so much that can be done from a classroom setting. By seeing the impact of the educators in ECI 830, it is clear that amazing work is being done and implemented each and everyday. How do we ensure every educator and parent has this vital information for the millions of innocent children coming through ours schools everyday?

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Author:

My name is Jennifer and I am a Grade 4/5 teacher with the Regina Public School Board. I am taking my 8th class towards my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. EC&I 833 Foundations of Educational Technology: History, Theory, and Practice.

3 thoughts on “The Power of Social Media…

  1. Great post! You broach a lot of important things in this reflection, particularly when it comes to the role of parenting in the use of social media. There are always going to be concerns with what is out there and how kids should be using the things they are privy to on a daily basis. Parents have a role to play in educating their kids on proper use of anything, including social media. We often forget that when growing up, we too had things that we shouldn’t be using all the time. Society has evolved, so should parenting and education.

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    1. Thanks for reading and your response! I do get a little fired up when speaking about this subject. I think its that feeling of helplessness because I so desperately wish that ALL parents and educators had this vital information concerning the development of infants through childhood. As a result, child rearing and digital citizenship would be much more of a concern and focus for all parents and educators.

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  2. Great post!!! So many great points that you raised. It’s very true that all of the early experiences we have as children affect how we interact with the world. Pre-K is so important for students to have the chance to develop readiness for school and it’s also important for the parents… family days and interactions with the school have the potential to have very positive impacts on students and their families. Thank-you for sharing!

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