We live in a global community now. Internet-generated networks like this one make it possible for everyone to be in constant communication with one another. Cosmologist and philosopher Marshall McLuhan once remarked, “The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village.” The Internet is a necessary condition for this kind of electronic autonomy. It sheds light on the lives of countless individuals throughout the world and transforms us into true citizens of the world.
Distance, nationality, and religious beliefs formerly served as barriers to open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas. However, at this point in time, not even the most impenetrable walls can stymie the free flow of in today’s age of open communication fostered by many online platforms, ideas may be freely exchanged. Sites like Facebook, which has emerged as a leader in this field, are responsible for facilitating the creation of virtual social networks. What, then, is the impact of these systems on our schooling? How do they affect pupils day-to-day?
As a species, humans thrive in group settings. Our preference is to conform to the actions of the group in which we find ourselves. This communal bent is what has given rise to every one of our cultural practices and customs. Abraham Maslow, an influential American psychologist, ranked the need for social interaction as the third most essential need, behind the requirements for bodily and emotional security, in his “Hierarchy of Needs.” Even our sense of self-worth is a byproduct of our reliance on other people. This is the primary reason why so many individuals utilize social networking sites to meet new people and fulfil their social demands.
As of 2015, Facebook, the biggest social networking corporation in the world, has 1.49 billion active members, and this figure continues to rise. The rising number of student users on these platforms is one of the most fascinating trends to observe. Pew Research Center found that students in both high school and college use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These statistics demonstrate the widespread use of online social networks among today’s student body.
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There are several explanations for why college students like interacting with one another so much. To begin, social media gives individuals independence, allowing them to share anything they want with anyone they choose. A big part of their social life is making new acquaintances and offering insightful commentary on the happenings of others. Online, students have more freedom to experiment with identities than they would in the “real world.” They become enamoured with the power they have to take action just by sitting in front of a computer, and they push for even greater independence as a result. Youth nowadays have never had it so simple to capture an instantaneous digital snapshot of their behaviour.
Many parents and prominent psychologists from across the globe are concerned about a darker aspect to this phenomenon. Constant exposure to social media may lead to an identity crisis, which is a serious issue. Penn State professor and researcher S. Shyam Sunder has observed that “the kind of activities users are doing and the kinds of information they are adding to their profiles are a mirror of their personalities.”
There is concern among psychologists that the current generation is experiencing an identity crisis. People, particularly students, have a lot of their life shaped by the things they read on other people’s profiles. Students’ behaviour patterns are shaped less by adult guidance and more by their peer group.
Unfortunately, mood swings and lapses in self-control are becoming more common among our pupils. The pressure to share one’s romantic status amongst peers increases when one of a student’s pals has already done so. Greater attention means more value, even if the actions themselves are unethical or unlawful. Furthermore, many of our kids seem self-conscious about their appearance and want to outdo their peers by posting more attractive photos of themselves. A recent study found that friends’ attitudes are instantly impacted anytime someone updates a profile photo. A lot of individuals experience worry, tension, or even panic as a result of this. This kind of thought may be depressing if it persists.
Studying, developing good habits, and expanding one’s knowledge are crucial to the development of a student’s character and competence. However, as we can see from a number of recent research, students’ vulnerability to the trappings of social networking sites gravely threatens the effectiveness of the ideal learning process. A growing number of students are putting their education at risk by neglecting it in favour of time spent on social networking sites rather than studying or engaging with others in person. Students’ success in school and their ability to launch successful jobs may suffer if they devote excessive time and energy to social networking.
Too much time spent on social media may become compulsive and lead to the development of negative behaviours. Many students would rather squander time chit-chatting with their pals than putting in the effort required to improve their academic performance, expand their recreational horizons, or acquire new skills. It is often held that a long-lasting bond between two individuals may be formed via the simple act of getting to know one another, spending time together, and talking about one’s lives. However, a good friendship with someone cannot be fostered via such an artificial means of communication since it does not lead to a natural, pleasant encounter. Moreover, because of the absence of in-person interaction, these connections often fail quickly.
The system encourages users to compete with one another to create as many new friends as possible, with each user’s “social quotient” being determined not by their genuine amiability but by the number of people who consider them friends. When kids who are too young to make an informed judgement “like” or remark on social or political matters, it may spark heated debates.
Taking into account the aforementioned benefits and drawbacks, it is important to establish guidelines for the appropriate use of social networking sites, particularly amongst high school and university students. Students should have the option to socialize in a productive manner, but this should not be forced upon them. Social networking shouldn’t interfere with a student’s success in the classroom, and it’s important to remember that the online communities people build on these sites are quite different from the actual world. Students should learn to objectively evaluate how much time they want to spend on social media. The burden of determining the extent to which their online activities have real-world implications lies with each individual student.
Positive & Negative Effect of Social Media on Education
In these trying times, when students are separated from their families, friends, and classmates by distance, they are more linked than ever before because to the advent of social media. However, there are also detrimental effects that social media may have on kids’ bodies and minds, despite the fact that it offers many positive advantages such as allowing children to express their creativity, learn new things, and interact with others. Student use of social media has been linked to a variety of negative outcomes, including insomnia, headaches, negative self-perception, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, cyberbullying, and other mental health issues.
Positive Effect of Social Media Education:
1. Motivate Online Learning
Students are inspired and supported via the usage of social media in the classroom. Major factors that have contributed to the expansion of education include the availability of instructional films on YouTube, the widespread use of e-books and online notetaking, and the use of video calls to facilitate instruction.
What social media has done is make it feasible for people to study from reputable institutions regardless of their location.
2. Connect with peers
Having friends and acquaintances may improve your mood and sense of fulfilment, and this is particularly true in today’s isolated society. Because of this, students may make connections with others who share their interests regardless of physical location or the passage of time. For young people from underrepresented groups, this may be very helpful.
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Negative Effect of Social Media on Education:
1. Poor sleep, eye fatigue, and physical inactivity
It’s common knowledge that social media can be very addicting; many users have had the familiar feeling of promising themselves they’ll only check their notifications, only to find themselves scrolling aimlessly for hours. The blue light emitted by our electronic gadgets confuses our eyes into believing it’s still daytime, disrupting our circadian cycles and making it difficult to fall asleep. Furthermore, we tend to blink less often while staring at electronic screens, which, when combined with the harmful effects of blue light, may cause serious discomfort or even permanent damage to the eyes.
2. Reduces Learning and Research Capability
Students now rely less on books, notebooks, and notes and more on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to learn new things.
Students are losing their reading habits as well as their ability to study and do independent research as a result of the ease with which information can be obtained online.