Social Media has changed Our World

Posted by Alan Boucher on 2/27/2020

Social media has changed our world.  When I was a kid, parents complained about their children talking to friends on the telephone for hours at a time.  Today, phone conversations have been replaced with texting, Tweets and Snapchat posts.  Interestingly, many parents who complain about their children spending too much time on social media are guilty of the same excess.

Over Christmas break, I read an article in the Dispatch/Argus about social media leading to unhappiness.  I was drawn to the article because I have been troubled about the negative effects of social media for quite some time.

The article mentioned a study that found that 12th graders spend an average of six hours a day online. This means spending less time having personal interactions with friends and family, reading a good book, enjoying the outdoors and even getting a good night’s sleep.  The study found that the amount of time spent online corresponds with growing teen unhappiness.  Girls spending 5 hours or more a day on social media are three times more likely to be depressed.

Social media drains our joy by allowing us to see all the horrors of the human experience.  It provides a forum for bullying, spreading false stories and complaining.

It also gives people an opportunity to portray their lives to be much better than they really are and that, in turn, causes others to feel worse about themselves.  Over-consuming social media drives down our happiness and thwarts our sense of well-being.  Children depend on the adults to set limits, provide guidance and explain the context of all that found on social media.

The Sherrard School District seeks to use social media as a positive tool for productive ends.  We limit and monitor our students’ access to social media.  Together, we adults can become leaders by monitoring our children’s use, setting limits and being good role models.  If we do these things, we will heighten our children’s sense of well-being and social-emotional health.