Lesson Plan - Get It!
Long before there was TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, or even Facebook, there were other social networking platforms like Friendster and MySpace.
As those first sites grew in popularity, teens and young adults back then were the first to navigate social media. These were likely your parents, believe it or not!
Today, the power of social media has created an age of information that reaches nearly every place and every person in the world.
According to a 2023 report, nearly 60% of the world uses social media. That is 4.76 billion people.
- How incredible is that number?
Social media allows us to feel included and to know exactly what is happening throughout the world in real-time!
- But is engaging in social media, especially as a teen, actually helpful? Or is it stressful?
In this lesson, discover situations designed to make you think twice about how you use social media. The goal is to learn how to use it responsibly so it will not affect your daily life and, most importantly, how you view yourself.
You are one of the billions of people around the world who are currently connected digitally.
As someone born into this age of social media and technology, you might not be aware of how much the way we communicate with friends and family, wherever they are, has changed.
Reflect on the following before beginning this lesson.
- In what ways has social media become a powerful tool for information?
- What are the disadvantages of social media use?
- Can social media be addicting?
The Benefits of Social Media
Speed and Scale
- Have you ever seen the 1990 movie Home Alone where Kevin is accidentally left behind by his family, who he thinks he wished away?
If this movie were released today, it would be over in a few minutes.
Kevin would wake up to see his sister's tweet about running late, his cousin's Facebook check-in at the airport, and his aunt's Instagram post about flying first class. He would text his mom, who would threaten to post a bad Yelp review if she were not allowed off the airplane. The end.
Today, you can get a hold of anyone anywhere within seconds. No wonder this is at the top of our benefits list!
Facebook, for instance, had over 2.7 billion monthly active users during the first half of 2020. That is a massive scale! As for speed, information is conveyed over the internet at the speed of light. That is fast.
Gone are the days of mailing a written letter to someone and waiting days or weeks to hear back from them.
Exploration and Learning
If your parents wanted to know how to fix something or style their hair, or when the local team was playing; they would need to go to a class or find someone who knew or check a newspaper.
You can subscribe to a DIY YouTube channel or follow a stylist's Instagram or the team's Twitter.
In addition to providing an infinite amount of immediate content, social media also delivers this information in many different and exciting ways.
social media has made it so easy to receive snippets of information from a wide array of sources people find it hard to stop scrolling.
Fun and Entertainment
- What was the last meme that made you laugh?
- Has your family tried the hide-and-seek blanket challenge with your pet?
- Do you have a friend who constantly posts funny stories?
Social media can be fun and entertaining. Some time spent checking out all the silly, creative, and nice things people are doing worldwide is a great way to relax.
Connecting and Networking
Social media makes it possible to reconnect with loved ones and long-lost friends. Watch to hear a story of friends reconnecting.
It is also possible to instantly connect with people who share your likes or interests. Networking has never been this easy.
The Negative Effects of Social Media
Missing Direct Social Skills
The ability to read facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal messages when interacting with someone is one of the most important human skills. Social media affects that skill in two ways.
First, as we spend more and more time engaging over social rather than socially, we lose this skill.
Second, it is impossible to fully engage with or understand the full context of an interaction with someone over social media. This can result in miscommunication and the inability to build a stronger relationship.
Cyberbullying and Abuse
Bullying is not new. Your parents had to deal with it too. But the speed and scale mentioned above also apply to the spread of harmful content.
According to a 2018 Pew Research survey, 59% of teens have been bullied online. As a teen, you don't need a statistic to know this.
Social media provides bullies with easier access to more people and allows them to hide their identities. Someone who might never say anything cruel to your face has no issue posting it on your feed.
Identity and Self-Worth
Not everything you see on social media is real or accurate.
When you see social media feeds full of great food, fun trips, trendy clothes, or attractive people, it is natural to compare it all to you and your life. Don't!
Instead, remember that everyone posts their best selves on social media and that everyone also sits around in their PJs with a pimple on their face scrolling through social.
It is important to know your worth. Don't compare yourself to what you see online, and don't measure your value by your number of likes. You are better than that.
There you have it: the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media.
There are many resources to help you successfully navigate social media. To get started, you can read about Social Media and Mental Health or watch the video below.
Caring for yourself is not always easy, but you've got this.
Recognize when long hours on social media leave you feeling sad, lonely, or envious. Remind yourself that not everything you see is real. Resist comparing yourself to others, and remember you are incredible and unique.
Move on to the Got It? section to practice what you've learned!