By: Serena Crawford
Social media is a very large part of our everyday lives. Many of us constantly log in to see what our friends and family are up to. We view photos and videos of pets doing silly things or children being cute. There is a lot that you can learn from social media and they are things that children can learn as well. For accounts such as Facebook, children until 13 years of age are not allowed to have an account but a British study shows that around 59% of kids under the age of 10 have posted something with social media. Even more disturbing, 42% have messaged someone they don’t know by the time they were 12 years old. There are some useful things that kids can take away from social media however and it may just be enough to include it in lessons plans for schooling according to teacher Jay Donaldson.
Donaldson states that one very important lesson that children can learn from posting on social media is proper grammar and interaction skills. If they want someone to respond to them they will learn that they have to post something of interest and the grammar should be clear and concise instead of a bunch of jumbled abbreviations and misspelled words. Learning how to communication this way will certainly help them down the line when they are communicating in an office.
Another lesson that they can learn is how words used on social media can hurt. Donaldson said that at the school he teaches at, Vernon Christian School in Vernon, British Columbia, they have their own social media platform that is monitored by the teachers. One time a boy posted harsh comments that were hurtful to the student they were intended for. The teachers found it and took the opportunity to educate everyone on the dangers of bullying on social media. They taught them about how hurtful words can be to someone even if they are just typed on the internet and the dangerous consequences it can have.
Another way that Donaldson likes to engage children in social media is to have them use the blog feature daily. It gets them to write creatively and do critical thinking. So while there are many different aspects of social media that are not for kids at all, there are other parts that can be used as great educational tools.