Today Social Media has changed the world phenomenally and it has taken over our lives in such a way that things are never going to be the same again. Social interaction may have increased by ten-fold, but how much of that is human face to face interaction is a question that is best left out of the equation. People might be in the same room today, but still living the moment through their smartphones and viewing the world through their screens, not their eyes. You might be wondering how this is relevant to education or parenting in today’s times. Well, the fact of the matter is that social media is harming your child’s education and no one is aware of it.
Let’s start with the basics- validation! Social Media validation is something that has become of prime importance in the millennials mind and has reduced his attention span drastically. Today a child is exposed to social media from a very nascent age, because smart phone exposure almost directly results in social media exposure where being on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram is seen as a necessity and if you aren’t on at least one of these websites then you’re titled a ‘Loser’ or an ‘Outcast’ in society. From the age of 10 and 11 children get into the habit of browsing through their smart phones and scrolling through social media platforms, not realising that they’re conditioning their minds to something that is going to affect their academics and life state in a very negative way.
Today’s generation wants instant gratification in every sphere of life, whether it’s food delivery, mobile recharges, buying clothes, shoes or even social life. Why take the trouble of calling up a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and asking how they’re doing, when you can simply scroll through their profile and stalk them or just drop a simple ‘Sup’ in their inbox within a few clicks? While this may sound a lot more convenient at first, it isn’t really human if you think of it. I mean if the person does matter that much then why not take the effort and time to connect properly? The same extends to different spheres in their life especially education.
Now what this conditioning for instant gratification does is that it reduces the attention span of a student majorly, and he’s so used to reading a couple of words and scrolling through that sitting down to read and study an entire paperback text book seems almost impossible for him. And while that’s extremely necessary at that point in his life, you can’t blame the student for not being used to this old fashioned format that our generations have been following since the beginning of education.
Also, life looks extremely perfect on social media. Children are exposed to fabricated lives of celebrities and famous people on social media. This makes them have unrealistic expectations in life, and these rose-tinted glasses are extremely tough to take off! Research also suggests that social media exposure is a leading cause of depression and other mental health issues among youngsters today.
Here is where the role of us as parents comes in. While it is important to keep our kids safe and provide them with the best we can, a filter needs to be there as to what is good for them and what isn’t. A smartphone is necessary considering safety since today almost all the kids have tuition, and extra-curricular activities to attend. But there needs to be a constant check on their activities and limiting their usage of the smartphone so that it doesn’t consume them completely, nor hamper their ability to pay attention when necessary and affect their ultimate potential.
Social media also exposes children to activities and occurrences from around the world, breaking boundaries. This is both good and bad, since a child’s mind is a blank canvas and can very easily be painted in any way depending on the kind of news it is exposed to. Here again it becomes absolutely essential to monitor and check what kind of activities the children are partaking in so that the balance is maintained and they stay well on track.
With a little bit of effort and guidance from the parents, the best of social media can be absorbed by the kids, and the worst can be averted. While you cannot escape social media, you need to make sure the use of it is controlled, at least while your children are in school/colleges.