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The Dangers Of Social Media

In today's digital age, a lot of kids are on social media, which raises a lot of questions and concerns about the safety and well being of each child. I'm going to take a dive into the dangers of social media and the effects it can have on young students. In the ever expanding digital age, the pervasive influence of social media on children's lives has ignited a growing concern.

As online connections and carefully crafted identities become more appealing, the lurking dangers in this interconnected world have escalated. From cyberbullying to excessive screen time, threats posed by social media to young minds have become a constant challenge for parents, educators, and society as a whole.

This contemporary landscape compels us to closely examine the profound impact these platforms can have on our children's well being and development. Joining me to talk about this is Barbara Steger, who was an Arby's sergeant and has been in education for almost 10 years. Even in the adult education arena, and again we're dealing with 16, ages 16 through they could be 80.

However, we do see students on their phones all the time during the instructional process. And and for, and I tried to explain to them in their orientation is that they need to be presently engaged in what's going on in the class. And so if they're on their phones scrolling Facebook and all these other social media sites, they're missing out on key and relevant data that is coming from key information that is coming from the instructional process.

And a lot of times it's not so much disruptive as it is loud and boisterous, but the fact that their attention is somewhere else. Also joining us is Adam Branson, who's been a teacher for 20 years. When I taught public school, it was a lot more disruptive than private. When I taught middle school, especially 8th grade, I'd had kids all the time, trying to sneak on to check Instagram or, chatting with people they had no idea who they were chatting with, or checking TikTok.

Not as much with, especially in these young adults, most of them are surfing YouTube, stuff like that. So it was more eighth grade really where I saw it being an issue in the classroom. I do have kids that go on and look at inappropriate videos on TikTok nowadays, but it's few and far between. Also joining us is Heather Tabaka, who's been in education since 2005.

We actually have a new law that was passed here in Florida that they are not allowed to be on their phones anymore. So before this was implemented it was a really big problem. The kids were on social media all the time. They're not paying attention to their teacher in the classroom.

They take pictures of other students and are posting them. We've had all sorts of issues with that before. With students creating Instagram accounts, fake ones and just posting pictures of all different students and everything like that. So it's definitely been a challenge. It's not as bad as it used to be since this new this law was put into place.

But we still battle it every single day. We have kids that get on the Wi Fi. They're not supposed to have the Wi Fi. They share it. So it has been it's an uphill battle for sure. What are the potential risks and dangers associated with children using social media platforms, and how can these risks impact their wellbeing?

Social media offers several benefits for your child. It can serve as a platform for learning, allowing them to share and expand on their school knowledge, explore hobbies and interests, and express creativity through profile customization. images, videos, and game modifications. Additionally, it can contribute to your child's mental health and being by fostering connections with extended family and friends and participation in online communities providing a sense of belonging.

However, it's essential to be aware of the associated risks. These include exposure to inappropriate or distressing content such as aggressive, violent, or sexual comments or images as well as the potential for uploading embarrassing or provocative Your child may also unknowingly share personal information with strangers, face cyberbullying, encounter excessive targeted advertising, and be vulnerable to data breaches where their information is sold to other organizations.

Parental guidance and monitoring can help mitigate these risks in the digital realm. According to Raising children dot net predators is definitely number one. I had a girl in one of my classes once talking to a guy. I said, do you know who you're talking to? And I have no idea. I said, it could be a 50 year old man saying he's a 13 year old guy.

You don't know who you're talking to. I said, that's dangerous. So I think a lot of times people catfishing and people On there for the wrong reason. Kids are innocent. Kids can easily get drawn in and not just on anything sexual, but also I had a student appear in the program. I teach now who's in his twenties and he was scammed out of money, send money.

I need help with some girl. He thought he was talking to a girl and it wasn't it was. Probably some man there, so I would never know who it was, but he lost about 500 bucks. So a lot of times I think it's just, it's going to be predators and scamming and also just to wasting their own time looking at inappropriate.

There's so much inappropriate stuff on Tik that is not as regulated as it should be. Yeah. A lot of our students struggle with understanding that their actions have consequences and. When they put something out there or they say something or it's there forever. I don't think that really registers to them just because, they're their maturity level.

They're not there yet. They don't think like adults do. Also they don't know who they're talking to. If they befriend somebody on social media, that could be pretending to be somebody else. And they end up liking this person and they want to meet. They literally have no idea who they're talking to sometimes.

And then this whole thing with AI that's going on, they're just, there's so many dangerous situations that these kids can really be in because it could really be somebody pretending to be somebody else. And I don't think that's always taken into account. When you're thinking about a student's cognitive ability and the way that children develop, social media has made it so that they don't learn those in person, face to face skills that we learned when we were growing up because we didn't have social media.

And so a lot of times you have students young people that don't know how to interact with other people face to face. They can do it Online bullying is an issue where people are subject to before you got bullied at school, then you went home and it was done because it was isolated and it was at school. But now students are on their tablets and social media accounts all day, every day. And so that barrage of bullying and insults and things, it never stops.

And so that impacts their mental state and well being, I think, in their emotional state. I also believe that when you have young people on the on the internet and things of that nature and you have not taught them internet safety, there's that chance that they could bump into someone that is nefarious and is not looking out for their well being on the other end of that social media site.

And, you have a young person. And they're, they think they're talking to a 15 year old or someone their own age, and it's a 30 year old man. So those are things dangers to to having young people on social media that I think, as educators and as parents, and I'm a grandparent, that I'm very concerned about.

How does early exposure to social media affect a child's development? Including their emotional, social, and cognitive growth. Some experts worry that teens are more anxious and have lower self esteem because of social media and texting. There are key differences to socializing online. Teens miss out on things like body language and facial expressions.

This can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. It can also make talking in person feel more intimidating. It is also common for kids to feel bad about themselves when they see everyone online looking perfect. Teens often try to compensate by sharing pictures that make them look perfect too. Then, when their social media identity doesn't match how they actually feel, It can end up feeling worse, according to childmind.

org. Studies find that checking social media repeatedly among young teens ages 12 to 13 may be associated with changes in how their brains develop over a three year period. The brains of adolescents who checked on social media often more than 15 times per day became more sensitive to social feedback, according to UNC.

edu. Yeah, I think mostly the communication, like they don't really establish that communication face to face kind of stuff. I even see with my own kids and they're younger They're three and five. And, we really have to work with them on just being able to communicate and express how they feel rather than just say whatever they're thinking.

Like they really have to take the time to process. And I think that's when they're on social media and they're typing things, it's really easy to type things because there's no necessary consequence or reaction. Plus I think that face to face piece is really missing from communication as well.

They're so used to just I've heard stories from teachers that work here that, their kids are in the next room and they're texting them, and it's come out here and have a conversation with me, it's just easier. So and that's what they're used to. So I think there's a direct correlation and I'm not a doctor.

But I do believe there's a direct correlation between. Early use of tablets and students being able to concentrate and think things through you're finding a high rise of students that are coming in classrooms nowaday as early as kindergarten that I feel like they're overstimulated by tablets because it's always on and they're always being stimulated and so they don't know how to sit still.

They don't know how to, they think every, you're supposed to be entertained all day. And so they haven't learned how to think things through, they don't know how to sit still, they don't know how to do sit properly, and all of those things that we teach them in grades K through probably third grade, they don't have those skills yet, and there tends to be a higher rise of students.

Having ADHD and was on social media since she was about 10 and it was highly regulated. She was able to do YouTube and with the filters on, not talked and chat with anybody, not leave comments. Same thing with YouTube. They're definitely watch to make sure she was doing appropriate stuff. I believe that it helps kids with creativity.

My daughter's very creative. She's in theater. She's an artist. She's a writer. She comes from a family of authors. I believe that it definitely can help you with your creativity. There's so much information out there, even just the internet with DV and art and the other, places that artists can, look for certain things, I think if it's regulated and done, I've used it in the classroom in the past for research, for, with YouTube on how to do something, learn how to make change or learn how to fix something. Let's check YouTube. I had my kids put together a Pokemon little item that one of them had brought in that we were able to find a YouTube video of a guy unboxing it and putting it together.

So I think used in the right context, it's really good.

I think, honestly, I think adults are on their phone just as much and we've traded sitting in the doctor's room quietly reading a book with scrolling on her phone the entire time and I've been guilty of that. And I've often seen parents not being actively engaged in watching their children or.

Speaking with their children and the child is trying to get their attention, but mom and dad are scrolling. Yes, and connecting and they're still formulating that part of their brain, whereas adults, we've already done all of that. And so I think there is a difference in the way that lots of stimulation from tablets and social media and the Internet has on the human body when you're dealing with Yeah.

An adult versus a child believe that it depends on the individual when it comes to adults and kids. I can remember seeing a group of kids one day walking home from school and they're all on their phones. They're not communicating. I said, that's sad, but I've also seen adults in a restaurant all on their phones answering.

I think with adults, it's more texting and Facebook and maybe also Instagram. And what is it called now? X instead of Twitter. But I think for kids, it's more things like Snapchat and all of those. I think it just depends on the person and the platform, but I do believe that it's very hypocritical of some adults to say, get off your phone when they're doing the exact same thing.

Hard. And I do agree with it to one extent because I know I'm on my phone. Phone a lot too. Everything school related and work related is all on my phone. There's an app for everything. So I think that, even banking, paying all your bills and everything is on your phone. Go to Disney.

It's all on the phone. It, it's hard because, In one way we're saying don't let the kids use the phone, but then the adults also have to lead by example. So I think like having a set time or maybe limiting the, like a cell phone free time with your family or something like that. I think that definitely needs to be established.

There needs to be boundaries. I don't think that. Students should have access to their phones at night when their parents are sleep. There's also all sorts of things that happen during that time. It is a fair comparison, but then we're also adults too. So it's. It's, I don't know.

It's a really touchy subject. Cyber bullying. A new report from the Pew Research Center found that 46% of US teens, ages 13 to 17, have been bullied or harassed online, according to new port The effects of cyber bullying also include mental health issues. Increased stress and anxiety, depression, acting out violently and low self esteem.

Cyberbullying can also result in long lasting emotional effects, even if the bullying has stopped, according to Kaspersky. com. There's were students that were taking embarrassing photos of other students or, if they sent them something not necessarily on school grounds and everything, they would post it to this website or Instagram or whatever it was.

And it would be blasted out to everybody to the point where students were uncomfortable, the parents were getting involved. And it was like, it was hard because the stuff that was happening outside of school, there's not much that we as a school can do for that because it's not happening during school, but it just.

Kids are very self conscious, especially our middle school students. They don't like the spotlight on them. They think that they do sometimes. And then when it's there, they just get really down. And, that whole communication piece of just being able to tell others what they're feeling, they really struggle with that and those relationships.

So I think it just really, it really wears them down and it really affects them to the point where it could be potentially dangerous, mental health is a real big crisis right now. I feel like in our country. Just really being able to support them and, right now, like having something on social media is like the biggest thing, and.

I don't know the likes. I hear students talk about the likes all the time. Oh, my post got so and wow. How many likes? And I'm just like, okay, like that's it's a popularity contest. Yeah, just it affects them in all different ways. But it was actually at a school. I taught at about 2003 or four when it was it my space that was before Facebook and there was a girl from our school that had been bullied by some other people.

They were mad at her and we had to have a whole meeting about it because the girl didn't want to come to school. People were saying really nasty things online thinking they're slick and not going to get caught and obviously you can trace back to who it is. So yes, I have seen the effects of that and it was really sad for everybody involved.

It did not end well. But it also taught them, I think, at the end of the day, responsibility that cyberbullying is not okay. It's not, it's a coward way of dealing with situations. But it's an easy way to vent. Opinion of, I don't know, watch a Green Day video and you don't like it. Leave your opinion. It's just when you go after someone specifically, and, it turned into a whole lesson for my school at the time.

And this is when I taught second third grade, but it was somebody in the middle school that this had happened to a former student of mine. So it's very sad to see it happen. I have a friend whose daughter was bullied online and the bigger issue was that she couldn't, every time she got online, her friends, those individuals were online.

And and it's, so you tell him to delete that person, but they, they create a fake profile and then they get to him that way. And the thing was her mother ended up pulling her out of the school that she was at because those young people went to the same school, and it affected her emotional well being and her self esteem.

So I think, there are major ramifications that come out of cyber bullying and, I'm. I'll be 53 this year. And I think back to in school, when I was in school, you got talked about at school. Okay. It was over at school. Then you went home and you hung out with your friends and you did your thing.

You didn't have the onslaught all day, every day. So every time I get online, I'm being antagonized and I'm being talked about and picked on. It ended at the school day, but now it's 24 seven. And I think that's part of the issue.

I will say this, I know that this, it all sounds very negative, but there are some good uses for social media, but I think it comes down to having a educator in the classroom that knows how to use social media and those types of programs effectively. If you don't want to just throw technology in a lesson just because just to say I have it.

You want to use it effectively. So there are different things that you can use. We use a program here for our English as a Second Language learners called Burlington English. And it's a really good program and it's it teaches language acquisition. And so if you're using the programs effectively, then you'll get a positive outcome.

But we never want to substitute the use of technology for Face-to-face engage is my unless it's an online class and that's what they're signed up for. I love social media. I think it's great when it's used in the right way. We have a student we had a couple years ago up here in, in my program now, and he would look at online videos about being an artist.

He was very good artistically, but he got his confidence by posting his art, getting good comments on it, learning new ways to do art, to do digital art, that kind of thing. I believe when it's used positively, it's great. It's just when it's used too much when people are an addict, because I think it's, video games and social media is just like a drug.

It really is. There are some people out there that truly have an addiction. I think it's if it's used in moderation and it's used responsibly, I think it's a great thing. Yes. So especially if there's something something done in school. Sorry, my walk is going off. Hold on one second. Sorry. Yeah, if there's something done in school, especially there are consequences to it, but then it also like that popularity contest that they sit there and they talk about it, then it becomes like this whole big broadcast, like they're getting the recognition there.

They're five minutes of fame. It's just, and I think too, like a lot of the times they're spending so much time on their phones that they're not Studying, they're not doing what they're supposed to do. Academic wise and everything they want everything. So instantaneous now that working for things can be a little bit difficult as well, because they're like Google, Google can do it.

Or we've had students turn in essays written by AI. It's definitely it's a challenge for sure.

I think that they that needs to be a huge priority. I think a conversation needs to be had. Absolutely. There needs to be consequences to, put into place for cell phone use. Like I said before, kids don't understand that whatever they put out there stays there like they think because they deleted it goes away.

It doesn't go away. You can always find it. And I think parents really need to monitor everything that their child does, whether that be a, I I have family members that have their kids on a cell phone contract. So anytime mom or dad wants to see their cell phone, they have to, give it to them.

It's when it's requested, they go through messages all their social media, whatever emails. Whatever have you I think that they really need to keep a close eye on that because there's just, it's very hard to protect them because they're opening their, they have a pathway to all these different things and all these different people.

So you just never know who you're really dealing with or who you're talking to. So I think that absolutely there's needs to be those boundaries and rules put in place for sure. I think it's important that you do watch what your children are doing. And you limit those hours on technology. I am also a grandmother.

And so I spent a lot of time with my grandson. I used ABC mouse online when he was four years old. I I used that program. And just with me being an educator, I was able to teach him how to read. in two weeks when he was four. So when he entered kindergarten, he already knew his colors, his numbers, he could subtract and add, and he could read.

That's a positive thing. However, we also recently, now that he's eight we've had to pull back his tablet usage because he was becoming fixated on his tablet. He couldn't go, he couldn't eat without his tablet. He couldn't go to the restroom without his tablet. He couldn't do anything. So we had to take His tablet privileges away and limit his time and make him play outside and make him do the things little kids should do, make him read a book.

And so I think as parents, as grandparents, as anyone that is overseeing the care of children. You want to make sure that not only are you limiting that time, but you set preset things within their tablets that they cannot get to, because I've actually been on my device in court has popped up. And if it happens to me, it can happen to your child.

And so you want to make sure that you have things set in there to keep them those things from popping up and to keep them from going on to sites that are not. Designed for Children. Best. I think kids are parents should be watching what kids are posting and what they're watching. My daughter has a TikTok account and her mother and I both know what's going on with that.

If you remember Columbine back in the nineties, those parents had no idea their kids were building a bomb in the garage. They were not involved. They didn't know what was going on and look what happened. I believe that a lot of things could do with kids, thinking about suicide or kids doing inappropriate things online would not happen as much.

If parents were actually watching what they post a lot of times, when the kids are called out on something, parents see it, they're like shocked. I had no idea. You can't just trust your kids. I do trust my daughter with my life, but I still watch what she posts and what she's saying on, Instagram and things like that.

Those kids are smart and they know how to, if you're not watching it, they're going to do a lot more than they should. They're curious and their kids, they're not always thinking with the best thoughts.

First, I think kids should know how to do all this because technology is not going away. It's just going to continue to get more and more advanced. And if you're not, especially if you want to be in that industry, you're not going to be able to move forward if you don't know how it works. Not every kid can be a streamer.

Obviously they all want to be. But you still should have that knowledge and at least know how to safely go online, how to safely chat if you're going to chat, how to safely make sure you're not putting your own information out there. And I still believe it'll help with so many, I don't know, whatever walk of life you're going into.

If you're going to be a chef, a banker, a fireman, you can learn a lot by watching videos. You can educate yourself on a lot of things. And I think it's just going to get more and more interactive and more and more amazing as time goes. Important that they are using technology, but using it effectively and using it for educational purposes.

We know as educators that technology is not going away. That is evident by every, seems like every year there's a new iPhone that comes out with new features and this and it's updated. And so we know that as we grow older, the technology is going to continue to shift, it's going to continue to change, and it's being utilized more and more in the classroom, and so we don't want to shield our students from not from technology and devices forever, but we want to make sure that they understand how to use it effectively, how to be online safely.

how to make a guardian or a parent aware if something shows up on their tablet or devices that they didn't click on or even if they clicked on by mistake that they know how to get help to remove it and how to let the adult know if someone approaches them online. and are asking them to do things that they shouldn't do.

I'm a firm believer. I tell my grandson, we don't keep secret. And I, there's a person, whether they be in person or if they're online, if they're asking you to do things that your parents has expressly forbidden, or if they're asking you to keep a secret, then that's a red flag. And that needs to be reported to our guardian or an administrator or a teacher so that they are safe.

So technology is everywhere now. I think it's important for them to be able to use it the right way. And use it responsibly because that's just how our world operates now. It's everywhere. So they do need to be fluent and using it. I think that's 1000 percent important. I also think it's important for them to know that not everything that they read is true.

There's I, as an adult, read things sometimes and I'm like, I don't know what to believe because there's all these different things that are reporting all these different things and I'm not really sure which one is fact and which one is fiction. I think that if they feel that a situation is a little off or if they do feel uncomfortable or they're talking to somebody and they're asking them things that they shouldn't be that they need to report it as soon as possible.

See something, say something that's a big thing. Just making sure that they do know what is inappropriate versus what is appropriate conversation from person to person. I think a lot of our students to the they are open books. They like to broadcast everything.

So maybe sometimes they don't realize that some of the things that they're being asked or some of the questions they're asking are intrusive. Just making sure they're making good choices and hopefully being good humans. That's what we all we strive for. So thank you for watching TFD Deep Dives.

For other episodes like this one, please make sure to like and subscribe. Reporting to you from Illinois, I am Ben from TFD Deep Dives.

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