Most everyone on the planet uses social media. It has become such an ingrained part of our lives that it seems commonplace. Today, around 4.26 billion people use social media daily worldwide.
Social media has changed the way people interact with one another, whether good or bad.
Many schools now offer social media to students as a part of their education. Most parents allow their tweens and teens access to social media, even if they guard the interactions carefully or limit the amount of time their children use these platforms.
Is it healthy for students to have access to social media? Proponents of both sides believe they are right.
Is there a clear-cut answer to this question?
Keep reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages.
What Are the Advantages of Giving Students Access to Social Media?
For most social media platforms, the age of registration is 13 or above. Unfortunately, that does not mean there are no younger children using social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
Although social media platforms are often vilified, they actually hold some advantages. The following are some advantages of giving social media access to students.
- Social media allows students to connect with people from all over the world, saving time and energy. The world suddenly seems smaller and people are more accessible with social media connections.
- Social media can offer educational opportunities to students.
- Social media platforms can also provide an escape from a student’s stressful life.
- Social media builds a community of students all over the world, fostering better communication skills and understanding.
- Social media can become a source of support for students who are struggling with making traditional friendships.
Social media has changed the way people look at the world around them. For many, social media brings about positivity in a person’s life, but it can also have negative consequences.
Parents and educators must decide if one outweighs the other.
What Are the Disadvantages of Giving Students Access to Social Media?
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to students accessing social media. We will explore the disadvantages below.
- Addiction is a very real problem regarding social media. Social media addiction can lead to profoundly negative impacts on students’ mental health.
- Although social media can help students socialize, it can also prevent them from socializing with peers in real-life scenarios. Students can become so engrossed in their social media world that they forget everyone and everything around them.
- Cyberbullying is a significant problem across all social media platforms. Social media allows anyone to use the service anonymously, which increases the dangers of people bullying others without facing any consequences. Suicide rates are higher among students who have been bullied online.
- Social media platforms have a lot of inappropriate content that may be easily accessed by minors. Although social media platforms are founded on free speech, children do not need to be exposed to inappropriate content that could alter their innocence too soon.
- Excessive use of social media platforms can also lead to health consequences. Kids that use social media regularly are less likely to stay active.
Does Social Media Belong in the Classroom?
Social media can be used as a tool for learning or a distraction against educational understanding, depending on its scope.
Unfortunately, a lack of research has prevented many parents and educators from having a true understanding of what offering social media in the classroom entails.
Many educators are using social media to bring their students together and create a better sense of community. Teachers may set up group pages that allow students to have access to their teachers and one another.
If social media is to be used as an effective tool for teaching children, it must be used wisely. Failure to regulate student interactions on social media platforms can lead to the disadvantages outweighing the positives for both students and teachers.
Some schools are paying thousands of dollars to monitor students’ social media interactions. Most parents and educators realize the very real threat of social media being exploited and abused, which is why some schools have banned the use of it on campus.
Parents are urged to interact with their child’s teacher to determine safe operation while students are using social media platforms.
Failure to monitor and even limit social media use at school could lead to adverse mental and physical health in students of all ages.
Social media is a big part of most people’s everyday lives. Love it or hate it, it does not seem to be going anywhere any time soon.
If your children are on social media, whether at home or at school, conversation is key. Know who they are communicating with and how.
Are schools ill-equipped to handle the demands of monitoring students using social media? It would appear that this could definitely cause concerns.
Students must manage their time effectively if they want to use social media without impacting their educational careers and personal relationships.
When students use social media responsibly, the advantages can far outweigh the negatives.
With social media becoming such a natural part of life, it is no surprise schools are embracing this technology and making it a part of their educational tools.
For success in utilizing social media, parents and teachers must partner together to protect children.