The question of social media and our schooling came to me as I was sitting in class and, almost as if it was a habitual reflex, reached for my phone as soon as the teacher had stopped talking. I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and watching Snapchats. It was at this moment that I thought to myself there are so many other things (school related) that I could’ve been doing right then at that moment rather than distracting myself with my phone and social networks. So the question came up: Does social media have an impact on our schooling?
“Adolescents today definitely hold it at a higher standing to their education: they value their social media status more than their actual personality in real life, and we are really seeing that in schools today.”
Now, while the answer to that clearly depends on the student, how many times can we as students just mindlessly scroll through our social networking platforms without even knowing it during class? I can answer that simply: a lot. And while I don’t think it matters what type of student you are, I believe we have become so attached to social media that we have withdrawals when we go for hours without checking our accounts. We are so caught up in our little online worlds that we can sit for long periods of time just scrolling, tweeting and snapchatting; and that, to me, is unbelievable.
At any given moment during the school day, I guarantee that you could walk into most classrooms and see at least a fifth of the students on their phone. Whether the teacher is teaching or not, we as students have become so reliant on our phones that the amount of time we can go without checking them is nearly nonexistent. Some may argue that they are multi-taskers and can study, take notes, and listen to a teacher--all while doing something on their phone, but several studies conducted by researchers at the Miriam hospital in Rhode Island have shown that students who attempt to multi-task by checking social media sites while engaging in learning or studying show reduced academic performance.
It was merely something that made me think, what holds social media at a higher standing in relation to my education? The only rational answer I was able to come up with was me. I make the choice to scroll through Instagram or watch snapchats during class, and in turn I see the consequences.
When I posed the question to myself I could honestly answer yes, social media does have an impact on our education. The glorified lifestyles that we are exposed to on these sites rarely show education as a necessary component of life, and that, I believe, has a huge impact on this generation's lack of care for school. We see all of these celebrities who have made it big with minimal education, and we think we don’t need school to be successful. I find that is a very prominent mindset among high schoolers today, and we have social media to blame for it.
I asked Grant Calverley, a counselor here at Logan High who is approaching his 11th year counseling, and he stated that there are pros and cons to it all. “I think when we use it (social media) as a tool, its great. When teachers, administration, faculty in general, use it as a form of communication, it’s great, and you do things you never could have done so simply before.”
He continued, “But then there are also the cons: the bullying, the expectations, everyone is always under a microscope. You think you know everyone, but you really only know as far as they post. Why do I have that opportunity to think I know that person enough to judge them?”
When asked what his opinion was on how students hold social media in relation to their education, Calverley commented, “Adolescents today definitely hold it at a higher standing to their education: they value their social media status more than their actual personality in real life, and we are really seeing that in schools today.”
So next time you’re sitting in class and you begin to reach for your phone, think to yourself: is it really worth it? I mean, social media is definitely not going anywhere, but our time in school with teachers to support us in our learning is passing us by at the speed of light, and we really should not be taking it for granted.