A major driving force in the world of connected learning today is the impact of social media on education. With the use of technology such as social media, the way of education and learning is changing. When used effectively, social media and education can complement each other while developing new educational possibilities for students.
Besides engagement and fostering collaborative learning, social media is turning out to be a useful tool for young learners.
Social media has both positive as well as negative effects on education. While the impact of social media can be great on students, on the flipside, cyberbullying has emerged as one of the fastest growing and alarming trends across the world, leading to concerns over the negative effects of social media on students.
According to experts, if used in a responsible way and with proper guidance, the positive effects of social media on students can easily outweigh the negative effects.
On an average, Indian students typically spend one to two hours on social media and this figure can spike during holidays and weekends.
A recent survey by global Computer Security firm McAfee has alarming findings that serve as a wakeup call for the parents and the youth in India. This report ranks India high on the cyberbullying parameter by stating,” Approximately 85 per cent children in India have reported being cyberbullied and it is the highest in the world. Around 45 per cent children in India said they cyberbullied a stranger, compared to 17 per cent worldwide and 48 per cent said they cyberbullied someone they know, versus 21 percent of kids in other countries.”
There have also been reported cases of cyberbullying which have had a negative impact on the mental health of students. Keeping this in mind, many educational institutions are conducting workshops for both parents and children and also designing pedagogies and curriculums that incorporate social media usage for deeper knowledge, understanding, and collaborative learning and also educate about effects of social media on students.
Positive effects of social media on students
Critical thinking and creativity: Finding the best possible solution to a problem, thinking out-of-the box, exploring other ways to implement them besides the most obvious solution, experimentation are some of the positive outcomes of social media usage.
Collaboration and adaptability: Students learn to listen and accept diverse points of view, work together, adapt to changes around them and learn teamwork, leadership skills etc through social media.
Communication Skills: Since students get engaged with each other online, it helps them open up and share information and experiences with others like them in different geographies and also enhances their communication skills.
Positive outcomes with social media tools: Students can hone their expertise, knowledge and understanding of subjects alongside presentation skills when they use social media tools like Facebook or WordPress and Facebook to post their content and seek expert opinion. This is how they can work on improving their skills and knowledge and this activity also builds a sense of self confidence in themselves.
Engagement: While other traditional systems of learning can be very monotonous, social media sparks creativity, curiosity and also triggers excitement among the young learners leading them to be more attentive, agile, focused and involved in the subject for which study is being undertaken.
While there are some positive effects of social media, there are some:
Negative effects of social media on students
Anxiety and depression: The virtual world and social media can become a trap for students who may view it as a system that defines them and their lives as well. Issues like peer pressure, body image, a sense of anxiety when no one comments on their latest updates, social isolation, unwillingness to disengage from devices are some of the most harmful negative impacts that are surfacing in students not just India but across the world as well.
Fear of Missing out:The feeling that they may have been ‘dropped’ or left out of something because they are not cool enough, can sometimes lead to mental health problems.
Unhealthy sleep cycle: Social media addiction can lead students to not sleep for the requisite hours leading to more physical and mental health problems, poor appetite, irritability etc.
It’s important to educate and guide students on social media usage by fixing a weekly schedule which defines how long they can access/use social media accounts, when to set lines and boundaries, the pitfalls of engaging with strangers online, developing a healthy mindset which does not get swayed by external or fake parameters.
We at Genesis Global School always look at ways to engage the students more in studies through different methods of teaching through social media.