Putting The ‘Book’ in Facebook (1 of 2)

Online Influences Brought to The Schoolyard

February 13, 2015

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February 4th marked the 11th anniversary of Facebook; the social media website launched in 2004. Obviously social media websites existed before Facebook, however what came with and after the simple text-based site was groundbreaking for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons, surprisingly, is education.

 

Many people ask, ‘is education affecting today’s education?’ According to Georgia State University studies, the age at which most members of ‘generation z’ begin consuming online media around the age of 8, with this comes a variety of influences. By High School, about 72% of children use some form of social media. Many of the influences found online seem very negative, and are often reflected in the school setting.

 

Now there are the general negative effects of social media; students can become distracted easily, grades begin to fail because focus isn’t on work, and others that we’ve all heard. But the negative effects also go much deeper into student life.

 

One of the two main problems that arise with social media aren’t because our brains are being fried, it’s because we’re used to ease of information. Many social media users have a decreased level of information retention, most likely because of the access of information found on social media sites.

 

Another issue that arises with social media is the decreased attention to detail, as many status updates, especially on Twitter, which requires a short, 140 character post, promote quick and simple commenting and sharing, which has led to online communication similar to Orwell’s ‘newspeak,’ the fictional form of communication where words are shortened to allow for quick reading.

 

The biggest issue that arises with social media and a school setting is online bullying and other instances where conflict is taken to the web. Indian River’s student mediator, Mister Munroe says that about 50% of conflicts taken to his office have something to do with social media.

 

According to Munroe, the school stays out of conflict until it impedes the educational process, and then the guidance department will take an issue over, but the problem that arises with this is that the school can only deal with what the students provide, and there are so many channels of social media, counselors often don’t know what to look for.

 

One guidance counselor, Miss Caddick says that one of the main reasons so much conflict is related to social media is because inflection is often lost. Munroe added on to this by saying that miscommunication cases are found “all the time,” and can often be resolved quite easily; however many social media conflicts are hard to end. because of the fact that you can’t really control something that a student does outside of school.

 

There are a variety of negative effects that social media brings to the school setting, however this isn’t always the case. In the next article we’ll find several examples of positive changes that have been made in education by social media.

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