January 22, 2020: Mary Beth Hertz Reflection

Wow!

Last night’s conversation gave me a lot to think about. I always knew I was not the most informed when it came to having an in-depth understanding of how the internet works and the “ins and outs” of social media, but use them anyway. It really struck me how blindly I engage with different apps and social media outlets without really delving into their terms of use or how all of the different features of an app work. In my mind, I chalked up my lack of knowledge to, “Well, lots of people have a similar level of understanding and they’re fine!” However, Mary Beth made some interesting points that have inspired me to use a critical eye when deciding which apps and social media outlets I should use and how they can be used responsibly. I appreciate how the point of the conversation was not to deter people from using the internet and social media, but to emphasize the importance of “doing your homework” before diving in. That being said, I’m feeling inspired to start my major project research!

I always suspected that Instagram was the worst social media outlet when it came to mental health, but our conversation last evening verified my speculation. This Time article reflects what Mary Beth had mentioned in our conversation in regard to FOMO and fakeness. Instagram has stopped showing the number of “likes” a post receives… I wonder if this has made any positive impacts regarding mental health or has made posting on the app less appealing? The article noted above discusses the government implementing protocols for “safe social media use.” An example noted was providing professionals who work with youth training in digital and social media and for more research to be conducted on social media and the impact on mental health. I wonder if these suggestions have been effective or even used?

“Teens turn to, and are obsessed with whichever environment allows them to connect to friends. Most teens aren’t addicted to social media; if anything, they’re addicted to each other.” This quote by Danah Boyd disrupted a lot my previous beliefs regarding social media. Teens looking for a space to socialize and “keep up” with their peers is the addictive aspect of social media, not necessarily the tool that is used to do so. I have never thought of it that way before, but it makes sense. It made me think of the days when I would chat on the phone endlessly with my best friend in Saskatoon as a teen to keep up with the latest news or gossip. I wasn’t addicted to the phone; I was “addicted” to chatting with my friend. This was a serious “lightbulb moment.” AH HA!

The idea of an iPhone contract came up as well. I feel like this promotes the responsible use of technology without being stifling. It lays out expectations, but doesn’t discourage its use. From a teacher lens, I cannot believe I haven’t ever sent a technology contract home with my students to get signed at the beginning of the year! If anyone has sent a technology contract home with their students, I would love to take a look at an example! Mary Beth pointed out that there is a fine line educators and parents walk. We want to raise critical consumers of information, however we also want to avoid creating distrust in children. I think technology contracts are a helpful starting point when addressing expectations around digital citizenship and using a critical eye when evaluating information.

So, bottom line, lots of “food for thought!” 

Share your thoughts! Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “January 22, 2020: Mary Beth Hertz Reflection

  1. Lots of great takeaways from the presentation this week! I agree with the idea that we can’t hide technology from our students/children. Instead, we have to make informed choices with how we use it. Possibly moving away from “Acceptable Use” to “Responsible Use” policies (which are outlined in the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools” guide). Technology contracts can sometimes be tricky to implement – should students be allowed to use their personal technology at school at all? Should the devices be “locked away” during the school day to discourage mindless use? I am also curious to see different examples of contracts. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leigh,

      I was very much interested in reading your blog! I can absolutely relate to you when it comes to “blindly” engaging with apps without knowing what’s behind them. I think, that it is crucial for us, educators to become digital-, and media literate to be able to teach and support our students. As Henry Jenkins describes the mentality of “let them be, they’ll learn on their own” can be quite dangerous. I was surprised to hear the negative impact of Instagram on mental health over other Social Media. I have definitely noticed the negative impact of Facebook causing FOMO in people. I found the Time article you shared very useful, since looking at Instagram is actually part of my Major Project.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Leigh, I’m with you on that quote about how kids are addicted to each other. Social media gives them the ability to “hang out” with so many of their friends “at the same time”, so it’s addicting. Snapchat and others also allow you to communicate via videos, funny little games, and when you take a picture of yourself, you look better if you use a filter (and who doesn’t feel good about that!). I’d reckon that people nowadays see themselves far more often in selfies they take than in a mirror… so all those filters start to eventually represent a chunk of reality.

    Lol, I’ve scared myself now. I like the iPhone contract… I wonder if kids are more excited about getting a phone now, or a car when they get their license.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really liked your point about ‘doing your homework’ when diving in. There is a sea of information and interactions (more than ever before) how can one not ‘do there homework’ yet many don’t. I appreciate your points and the ‘homework’ you have planned for your major project.

    Liked by 1 person

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