Social Media strains in students’ lives.Posted: October 12, 2013 | |
Social media defines our lives. It’s true. It doesn’t just reflect or broadcast what we do, it defines how we live. The first thing I do in the morning is grab my phone and check my twitter feed and in the evening after I have got home for the day, I sit in my chair and scroll through my different accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter). I don’t use it at work but otherwise it is always there. But the thing is, I remember a time in my life when these different applications didn’t exist. Students in our classrooms around the world don’t have this luxury (and I think it is a luxury to remember a different time).
I remember a time when dial up internet was cutting edge, when mobile phones had to be carried in a rucksack, when people with email addresses were a minority… I am not a grandad (although talk like that makes me sound like one) but with these memories we don’t realise how embedded these website and technologies are in young people’s lives. And the crux of this is that social media can cause stress. I am not talking about bullying and the horror stories that we hear on the news (although they are obviously huge issues that need to be addressed), I am talking about general stress.
When I was a teenager, I had a good group of friends who I spent all day with in school and then hung out with after school for a couple of hours each day. This is no different to teenagers now. The difference is the connection to this social world. When I got home after spending time with them, I would be left without this social contact until the next morning. There were rare occasions when I would make phone calls in the evening (usually to girlfriends) but they were public calls sat on the stairs without the modern phenomenon of free minutes. There were no text messages, tweets, Facebook comments etc that keep teenagers constantly connected, and this is a good thing. We all need downtime and social media often takes this away from us.
At school we have just started with Year 10 for our year group and we are starting to pick up quite a few issues to do with stress and anxiety and I think a lot of it comes down to not being able to manage the many spheres of being a teenager. School work, homework. parents and friends are the main spheres but school work is left at 3 o’clock, homework can be completed, the bedroom door can be closed on the parents; friends via social media don’t seem to have an off switch.
On Friday I am delivering an assembly on this topic and I am going to be challenging the year group to have a social media blackout. I am going to pledge to not check Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc for a whole weekend. I am going to ask them to pledge to cut back and see how it reduces the stress in their lives. Sometimes as adults we scoff at how teenagers have it a lot easier because of the all the technology in their lives that we don’t realise that these developments can bring strains that we equally don’t understand.