If used correctly and safely, social media and digital technology can have many positive impacts on its users. With the growing use of technology in schools and daily learning, digital citizenship and learning about appropriate online use has never been so important. With that in mind, we want to share some positive uses that online technology can have on kids.
1. Global connectedness
Facebook is built off of connections between users and people, and in some cases connections that stretch across the globe. With social networks, we are now able to connect internationally with that family member living overseas or the friend you met on a trip. Staying bonded has never been so easy. Take advantage of the instantaneous availability and say hi to that person you’ve been meaning to talk to.
2. New skills for 21st century workplace
The process of research, planning, writing, scripting, storyboarding and presenting hasn’t changed in the digital world, but the mediums we publish on have. Students can create multi-media projects and develop skills with online tools that will be valuable to the future workplace. Digital skills will be in high demand for many years to come, and beginning with online blogs and social networks is a great way to start.
3. Creating original content
Not only can students develop valuable skills, but they can tap into their creative side and create original content. Whether it’s filming a YouTube video, writing a blog, or editing a music remix, students are able to safely express their creative side using digital media. In the words of Kid President “Create something that will make the world awesome!”
If you want to learn more about a specific topic, there are many media workshops geared towards youth.
- Modern Kids’ Guide to Crafting, Coding, Composing
- MakerKids workshops
- Code for Kids workshops
- Girls Learning Code workshops
- Mozilla Hive
4. Building a brand
Through social media, youth can establish a positive presence or “brand” online. First, search yourself and take down anything you don’t want the online (global) community to see. Your online presence can been seen by teachers, parents, university/college recruiters and even your bosses. Remember, it doesn’t matter how many people are paying attention to you online; what matters is that the things you do online build a consistent image of you that reflects how you want to be seen.
Check out this tip sheet:
5. Learning more about the media and how it works
Now that technology and media are globally accessible, students have the opportunity to learn more about how they work. Kids can find the answers to questions like:
- What is media?
- What do reporters do? Producers? Editors? Directors?
- What news sources can you trust?
Check out this Media Toolkit for Youth:
6. Participate in conversations
Social networks such as Twitter enable teens to engage in educational conversations inside and outside of the classroom. Not only can classrooms have “tweet chats”, but students can participate in youth conferences or trending topic conversations. Parents can also get a glimpse into their child’s classroom via class Twitter accounts, which can further parental engagement and conversations at home about school and learning.