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!