Pros & Cons
There are many ways that social media has positively and negatively impacted my life. So many in fact, that it is probably easier to write this as a list.
When I was younger, social media was a very useful tool for connecting with classmates and friends. Even now, I use Snapchat frequently to share things with my friends (like a million snaps of my dog and what I am eating), as well as Facebook to stay connected to family and friends who are near and far.
Growing up, I definitely went through an ~angsty~ phase with many emotions (looking back I’m sure this is typical of almost all teenagers). Social media websites like Tumblr allowed me a safe space to “blog” (I guess it is a blog but I mainly used it for photos) about feelings and connect with others who were feeling the same way. This made dealing with large emotions a lot easier and had a positive impact on my development.
I currently use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Tik Tok) daily to learn tons of new things. I use these platforms to expand my knowledge about anything from baking/cooking to tips for the classroom. It is invaluable to be able to quickly find tips, tricks, and explanations for almost anything.
Although I love social media and being on my phone, I waste A LOT of time doing it. This has become more noticeable since Tik Tok became a thing as I used to always read before bed and now I get distracted watching videos instead. I think this picture pretty much sums up this point…
2. “Picture Perfect”
The biggest negative impact of social media, to me, is the pressure to be “picture perfect.” Especially as a teenager when Instagram emerged, there was lots of pressure to get “likes” on your pictures. This platform also allowed for kids to see pages from people all over the world which meant we had more people to compare ourselves too. As I have gotten older, this is less of an issue and is no longer something that affects me personally, but I know it still affects many children, including my students.
As an adult, I now know better how to protect my privacy online. However, when I was younger, I was naïve and did not consider how visible things I was posting might be. Today, I am more concerned about the privacy of children as social media has become more popular among a much younger group of kids who either don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t care about the dangers of these platforms.
Overall, I think that social media has impacted my life in mostly positive ways. It has allowed me to remain connected to friends and family and to continue learning. As an educator and a future parent, I know that we must focus on teaching kids how to use social media safely and effectively. I am hoping to cover this topic more in depth at a later time.