Over the years, social media has been in the news for numerous reasons. Although social media positively contributes to our society, it also offers a potential danger to teenagers.
Two weeks ago at a local middle school, Connecticut State Troopers gave a presentation to the students about social media. The main goal was to inform students of the outcome that sharing photos on social media pose. Students from grades 6-8 were in attendance for the presentation. Some were surprised about what they talked about and most learned from the experience as well.
“I never knew sharing and sending photos are a big problem. I also didn’t think people would be so direct in what they were saying,” said an eighth grader at the school.
Norwich Free Academy has no plans for a presentation, but NFA Campus Safety Director, Wayne Sheehan, still thinks social media is an issue.
“I think the main concern is how kids communicate with each other and the negative mean, threatening messages that can come across. There is a misunderstanding that can happen when you’re talking directly with somebody. It’s easier to work through conflict if you have good communication skills,” Sheehan said.
Even though the presenters at the middle school presentation mainly talked about photos, Sheehan did mention other concerns pertaining to social media. Things like drugs, illegal firearms, and even just people that could cause trouble are active on social media and tend to target teens that could be vulnerable. It is important that students are taught how to safely use social media.
“The one question I ask kids to ask themselves is, is this a respectful decision? And I truly think if you ask that one question, you are going to end up on the right side of whatever issue you are facing,” added Sheehan.
Even though social media has negative impacts there are also positives.
“Social media is pervasive in the lives of our students. I think it’s a central way that they [teenagers] communicate and stay in touch. Social media is not necessarily all bad, but there are certainly some issues that are a concern with how social media is used,” said Sheehan.