Owning a smartphone in today’s day and age is an extremely common occurrence. As almost everyone has a smartphone with them, it becomes easier to use social networking sites and access the internet. For most students, social media acts as a tool to maintain relations with peers and communicate effectively with them. Since the past decade, social media has been touted as a platform for youngsters to congregate online and interact socially as if they were in person, regardless of their distance from each other. Geographical limitations have been nullified and the traditional way of establishing communication and relations has been overwritten. There are likely teens out there who do not know of many other uses of the Internet other than their favorite social media platform.
Regardless of the accomplishments of social media one cannot simply turn a blind eye to the various problems that come along with it. While social media can be used in ways that promote positive and productive ideas in society, the negative outcomes from social media such as cyberbullying and other online dangers also pose a massive threat. Positive behaviors and aspects make social media an invaluable tool for young people if used appropriately. Hence it's very important to ascertain the benefits gained by the mass users of social media eg; students.
Below are some of the ways on how to use social media effectively for the benefit of a child's learning:
1. EducationThe conventional method of obtaining information and gaining knowledge has experienced a 360 turn. Social media has multiple uses and one cannot negate the value it brings to education. It can effectively be used to educate young people. While imparting education on a one-on-one basis is considered ideal, social media can do the same much more effectively and to a broader audience all at once. The presence of different minded people helps in creating a safe space where diverse opinions and views are accepted. Students can take classes from e-learning websites and discuss their learning’s or doubts using various social media channels. Sites such as YouTube help individuals to express their opinions on various subjects. In the process, they can create an individual identity while attracting millions of views to climb to the top of search engines. That is why there is a special role of social media in education .
2. Spreading AwarenessSocial media enables people to spread awareness and bring justice when it is being denied. It acts as a voice of reason in society. Various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide platforms to share experiences. These platforms are being used by the youth to create a voice for the voiceless. On Facebook, for example, groups like “Disability is not inability” are being brought up to make society more conscious of how they treat the disabled. Spreading information to the masses to bring awareness is one of the most important uses of social media. Most of these groups are started by young people who see the essence of treating everyone equally and social media as the perfect place to spread that message. This shows the empathy level of generation. social media has become one of the biggest platforms ever in history where change can take place through popular demand.
3. Enhances CreativitySocial media acts as a platform where students can showcase, cultivate and hone their multiple unique skills through posting photos, blogs, individual articles, videos, audio clips, etc. It offers opportunities for students. Sharing graphics and content is constant in social media. This has given a chance for young people to be creative and innovative. Social media sites mostly depend on active participation and sharing of different content. This makes it so that young people think outside the box and come up with new content when sharing information. Putting your unique ideas and creatives online and finding acceptance and encouragement is inspiring. Not only does this boost your confidence but lets you believe in yourself. The content they share is unique, but new applications and websites spring up every day with new ways to express creativity and individuality. Facilities such as crowdfunding also help to raise funds for creative ideas and services
4. Boosts SkillsSocial media has given teens the ability to hone different skills that are important in the real world. Young people are increasingly able to interact more freely and easily in
different social environments online, much as they will later on in life, in the workplace. This is a result of the endless exposure they get from being online and talking to different people, some of whom are their potential employers. Young people acquire skills that enable them to evaluate and interpret different situations contextually and prepare themselves mentally for situations later on. Social media helps to meet various people and build a network. Social media helps to market as well as reach out to potential employers and employees. Sites like YouTube have thousands of educational videos that give anyone the ability to sharpen and develop their various skills and talents, for example, playing the guitar, swimming and even cooking.
5. Making FriendsSocial media gives teens skills to become more confident and independent. Engaging in social networking sites can be a new adventure for young people. It is like exploring a new place where different skills are needed. Young people learn to mold their character to be more confident and independent in order to be heard or have a positive online presence. Social media offers you the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world, who may share the same interests, thoughts, and views as you. It is hard making friends and maintaining friendships past a certain age. A busy schedule and lack of motivation take over. Social media extinguishes this barrier and helps you build a worldwide network of friends.
6. BloggingBlogs are a way to express your thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc it also acts as a good release. While reading blogs is a great way to learn new things and stay updated, it’s also a good idea to become a blogger. Blogs help you to create your unique style and cultivate a new identity. Blogging is an upcoming concept in the world of marketing. Whether your child writes about life, poetry, math or fashion, the practice will definitely improve writing skills as well as enhance self-confidence. Through posting of blogs on social media, your child will also learn how to promote himself/herself online – a valuable skill for future entrepreneurs. Reading blogs or watching vlogs of aspirational/ influential people inspires many. Through blogs, students can connect with their role models.
7. Collaborative LearningWhy should learning stop at schools or in an academic environment? Your child can use social media to access as well as share educational content. By setting up Facebook groups with classmates, children can discuss studies, share informative videos, content and help each other out when stuck on a problem or concept. Communication has become so effortlessly easy that distance or time is no longer a barrier. They can critique and comment on each other’s assignments and work together to understand and solve problems. Encouraging group study and participation and also gives a boost to teamwork. Children can also use the platform to reach out to their teachers and ask for any help if needed. This ensures that learning is a multi-way, continuous process.
8. Self-Confidence & Public SpeakingSharing thoughts, ideology, views, and opinions through tweets, blogs, statuses, etc encourage your child to express himself or herself. Often children are shy to voice their opinions in front of others. But they may not feel that way on social media. Meeting like- minded people with mutual mindsets help students to express themselves better. This will not only increase their confidence levels but also improve their public speaking skills as they learn how to express themselves freely and confidently.
9. Stress BusterSharing experiences, thoughts, humor, ideas and creativity in a safe space with peers and friends or even strangers acts as a stress buster. Social media also helps to bust stress when children are bogged down with too much work. When children get back to studies, they are more energized and motivated and can concentrate better on their work. Problems arise when the negative aspects present on social media are not analyzed or monitored. However, it is crucial for parents to discipline their children regarding how much time they get to spend on such sites. Teaching children to be self- aware when it comes to activities on social media is an important step in making them responsible individuals.
10. Social Media MarketingSocial media acts as a platform where ideas products and new age concepts can be shared with the world. One can easily publicize and promote their services on Social media. Marketing skills help students give life to their ideas and concepts. Having marketing pages on social media is a must for each and every company. So students who are well versed with how to market online will have an added skill when it comes to employment opportunities as well. This will help them gain exposure and increase their overall knowledge and potential. Most companies have a specific dedicated team working to increase the social media presence of their brand. Digital marketing is also emerging as a strong career option.
11. Global ExposureThe barriers to learning at a global level have been tarnished with the mass use and consumption of social media. The presence of social media all over the world has led to an increase in the sharing of cultures, information, knowledge, and understanding. Bridging gaps across countries and overcoming geographical limitations is a key feature of social media. Students can connect with students all over the world, this helps them in having a more experienced grasp of the happenings in the world. With constant updates and information being shared, teenagers are no longer ignorant, nor do they have limited exposure. Social media acts as a platform where collaboration takes place at a huge scale, It helps you interact with different kinds of people no matter the social limitations. In conclusion, social media like all things has its pro’s and cons. It can be used as a tool for personality development and empowerment, but at the same time can also be socially destructive. Social media is often abused, the initial formation of social media was for the purpose of cultivating and maintaining relationships among individuals. It is a powerful tool in the hands of youngsters that can make or break them. The fact that it helps to build relations and maintain them, this has made the current generation of students realize its impact and value.
And while it is impossible (and counter-productive) to curb the use of social media or keep them away from using it, it is very important to monitor their activities online on a regular basis and teach them how to best make use of social media. If all parents and teachers work towards educating the children on the proper use of social media, the children will surely become better individuals in terms of knowledge-gaining and creativity. Giving them access to take decisions by relying on their intellectual prowess is a must instead of making decisions on their behalf.
Written By JBCN International School