Social Media and networking sites have taken over our lives like never before; in a new age of virtual interaction and personal blog posts, we are consumed with what happens on our Facebook pages or how many likes we’ve got on an Instagram picture. This certain obsession has a huge impact on the youth, who are still inexperienced or naïve, not knowing much about the world outside they’re comfort zones. They tend to base their lives on social networking and media, failing to realize that its way more beneficial to move out of the virtual and face the real world. This also has a huge impact on their academics, many a times more in the negative way than the positive. We cannot ignore the fact that social networking plays an important role in today’s teenagers’ lives.
The recent involvement of social media in our lives has reshaped the way students’ approach academics and extra-curricular activities. It has resulted in a paradigm shift in the way students and parents think. This new era of the online buzz does have its pros when it comes to the youth and students:-
- In terms of academics, it allows students to have easier access to study material and information. Free test preparation courses and various forums are available on the internet, helping students to focus on the preparation instead of whiling away time searching for books and innumerable worksheets.
- Due to the efficient interaction online, professors and educators are able to collaborate. Teachers are able to track their students, including their progress in a particular subject, grade or even a test.
- Students can reach out to educators and professionals millions of miles away, and interact with them to gain information about education opportunities in other parts of the world.
- Social media sites have created a platform whereby youth can form groups and pages on a common interest. Expanding their horizons, building up connections and opportunities for their respective careers.
- Students researched upon have clearly admitted the fact that social media has become a part of their lifestyle and has made them efficient academically They stay updated on all that is happening around the world (in terms of global issues and local news) and it helps them stay connected with peers strengthening relationships despite moving miles apart after completing school. It’s a proven fact that “when kids feel connected and a have a strong sense of belonging to the school community, they perform better academically.”
- Students also use social media sites to get tips about college and career options, and also deepening long distance friendships. They find out about the admission process and the tips required to up their chances for attaining admission or a job.
- Facebook has also published a guide for educators on how to use social networking to enhance learning. It recommends that teachers don’t accept friend requests from students, rather they should create pages and groups; allowing teachers to share content with varying degrees of privacy.
Social media can not only make us more capable and efficient, but also more inept. It has not only become a part of people’s lives, but also the beliefs we revolve around.
While on one hand social networking sites seem to bring people together, improve their technical skills & creativity of students, it can also create social isolation amongst many. As most youth end up spending hours on these sites, they rarely have time for any face-to- face interaction. According to various scientific studies, social isolation can lead to a host of emotional and psychological issues like anxiety, depression and somatic complains amongst others. This can have a long-lasting negative impact on a student, which leads to poor performance in academics and lack of interest.
Other negative aspects about social media are the spreading of misinformation, identity theft and most commonly cyber bullying. At the tender age of 12-13, kids are exposed to misleading information which they may interpret in the wrong way and project it onto others.
On social networking sites, youth are often too open and public with their personal information, and are often unaware that this sensitive information can be used by third parties for various kinds of cyber-crimes.
Cyber-bullying is also not unusual amongst young students, causing emotional trauma and even leading to suicide in some cases.
Too much time spent on social networking sites can cause-depression, anxiety, loneliness, poor social skills, addictive behavior etc.
We share too much with too many, causing it to lead our life. But social media is merely a tool, not a lifestyle.
And it’s up to us how we use it, and for what purposes.