Beneficial Social Media
In today’s society, communication is somewhat effortless with as much as a cell phone or computer. A text or instant message, via one of the various social networking sites, is how the majority of people today interact with one another. Social media has allowed new unconventional means of education to thrive amongst students of all ages and facilitated new means of easier communication among family and friends. However, along with a broadened network of communication there are precautions and concerns that many have taken in response to the vulnerability of this vast cyberspace. Although social media has its pitfalls, it has also changed the world for the better because it has introduced new innovative methods of education, facilitated easier communication, and has created a new environment for self-expression.
Social networking, such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Formspring, and Instagram, has virtually enabled students around the world to create online study groups and chat rooms to enhance their learning experience. In an article by Paulette Stewart, an author for Feature magazine, a group of high school library volunteers are brought together by their librarian to test out an online literature study group on Faceboook. The students mingle and begin to become thoroughly engaged as they read one book each month and then converse about the literature they had read. Throughout the simulation, the students begin to come forward and speak more openly about their opinions and literary views of the novels they had read (29). This example shows how Facebook, a social networking site, proved to be a productive educational outlet for students to engage socially with each other in a virtual classroom which resulted in authentic research and easier communication amongst students via a social media outlet.
Although social media such as Facebook, has helped broaden education into different outlets other than the traditional classroom, there are some questions many people have about how safe these online environments are. Dr. Stephanie Huffman, an Associate Professor at the University of Central Arkansas with a PhD in Leadership Studies, reveals that “social networking increases the likelihood of new risks to the self…” and “…loss of privacy” are very prominent aspects of joining a social networking site (154). There are many disputes today that debate whether social networking is safe because it allows, not only friends and family, but an entire network of people, most of whom are strangers, to see personal information, interactions with others, and individual thought. Although there are some risks of putting information on the web that reveals ones identity, as Stewart mentioned in her article previously, there are many privacy settings that are enabled to the user of the account (30). For example, on Facebook there are settings that allow the user to limit their profiles to be viewed by only people that they are friends with, which are called “Privacy Settings”.
Websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are very beneficial in many ways that are helpful for education and introduces new styles of education to educators. Even though these new forms of learning are not traditional and physical forms of a classroom setting, these virtual classes still provide all the necessary components of learning. For example, Stewart conveyed activities such as social camaraderie amongst students by working together, researching subjects in more depth due to access to more information, and students having more honest opinions in a non face-to-face environment versus an online group chat (32). However, students are warned to remain aware that “once information is released into cyberspace, it becomes a part of a global network” (Huffman 155). On the other hand, students do have the choice to take full advantage of privacy settings and monitoring the status of their...
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