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Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education 2024

Published - 2024-03-06 SocialDigital Marketing
an apple above pile of social media books with blue background

When we try to view the influence of social media across our ambience, We identify that it has impacted a huge global market. A mobile without having installed a social media platform seems to be a well without water; futile. Social media is a vital part of our lives these days. People use it to express their emotions, share news, and also is being used by many owners to generate and build the identity of their businesses. 

Long gone from the era when social media was just a mere source of entertainment, it is now an indispensable part of our lives. Surprisingly, the field of education has also been blended with the persuasion of social media. It is effectively a tool to help students in communicating with peers, teachers and a source to gain knowledge into broader aspects of various disciplines. 

This shift reflects the evolving nature of education in the digital age. Understanding the impact of social media in education is crucial, as it presents both opportunities and challenges for students and educators alike. In this blog, we will delve into the increasing integration of social media platforms in university education settings, examining the significance of evaluating their pros and cons for both students and educators.

Social media and education system

Who would have thought that one day social media would influence the education system in not just Australia but across the globe? Agreeing that still there are countries that are technologically and innovatively backwards but the use of social media platforms by every age group can not be denied.  

Social media platforms are not just confined to Facebook, Instagram etc. YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more are effective in transferring information from a user to multiple users. These platforms are not just beneficial for students but instead gives an opportunity to educators too. Through implementing their classes on social networks they can utilise their time efficiently and conserve their energy. 

In the fast-paced world even parents find themselves consumed by work commitments, social media can emerge as the primary communication channel. Regardless of the challenges posed by time constraints, parents deserve to stay informed about school events and regularly check on their children’s progress. 

The debate about implementing social media in educational settings is unclear, whereas there are few institutions that have already embraced social media and education concepts regardless. 

The overall impact of social media on the education system is profound, reshaping the way students learn, educators teach, and institutions operate. While social media offers numerous benefits, such as increased communication, collaboration, and access to information, it also presents challenges related to privacy, distraction, and information reliability. Here's a closer look at the overall positive impacts of social media on the education system:

1. Enhanced communication and collaboration: Creating channels across various social media platforms helps students, educators and institutions to establish a common communication podium. It is beneficial for students who are shy or else for students who require extra attention. Through these channels, educators can help them in forming a strong grip on various disciplines. Also, it acts as a space where students and educators can collaboratively share their opinions and understand each other's concerns.

With social media, instructors can foster collaboration and discussion, create meaningful dialogue, exchange ideas, and boost student interaction. And also is a feasible approach to connect with students outside the classroom and provide timely feedback, facilitating discussions beyond traditional instructional methods.

2. Entryway to wealth of resources and information: The internet in general is a fascinating library of ample knowledge. There are a wealth of articles, videos and online study material available for students to diversify their knowledge into dynamic fields. Educators can curate content, share learning materials and suggest resources to enhance their learning. Also there are online streaming platforms through which educators can transfer data from them to their students. 

Accessing different kinds of data in real time can not be this easy. In this digital age where everyone’s nose is buried in their screens, implementing social media in education may be the solution. Additionally, people have created channels or particular broadcasting groups specialised in different educational aspects. This has given everyone the opportunity to have their own expertise right at their fingertips.

3. Effective engagement and active learning: The engagement on social platforms is already high. From youngsters to the aged, there is a huge involvement of folks in social platforms. Social media can increase student engagement by providing interactive and multimedia-rich learning experiences. With a vast global reach, these platforms hold the potential to draw the attention of students towards the vast learning opportunities offered by academic institutions, including accessing the best homework help services to support their academic growth.

Even educators can use multimedia content, quizzes and polls, in their lessons to promote active participation of students. 

4. Professional development and networking: These platforms uncover broader aspects of any field. Students can gain insights into any specific topic and facilitate real-time communication and collaboration, allowing them to engage in meaningful discussions, seek advice, and share their expertise with other students. Furthermore, social media platforms offer unique networking opportunities, enabling educators and students to build relationships.

For students who are going to graduate from university, they can use social networks to establish professional connections and expand their professional networks. By harnessing the power of social media, educators can enhance their professional development, stay abreast of emerging trends, and collaborate effectively to drive positive change in education.

5. Marketing your own projects or work: Not just for students but for other professionals these platforms help in establishing credibility and recognition of a person. Students and graduates can create portfolios to showcase their skills and expertise in a particular field. There are a myriad of social media platforms that encourage them to promote their projects, share their artwork, and magnify their visibility within the academic community.

Social media provides a dynamic and interactive platform to promote educational initiatives, research findings, and innovative teaching practices. Through compelling visuals, engaging content, and targeted messaging, educators can effectively communicate the value and significance of their work to stakeholders, colleagues, and the broader community.

Foundation for self study: 

The negative impact of social media in educational setting

Social media in educational settings can lead to distraction, misinformation, cyberbullying, privacy concerns, and feelings of isolation among students. Here is a wide discussion on each of the negative impacts of social media: 

1. Distraction is persistent: The active minds of students navigate these platforms in performing unethical activities. Staggering to the factor that these have significant effects in boosting the educational experience of many students but on the other hand there is no surety that students to use this opportunity for optimal use. Instead of focusing on the lectures, students get distracted by the videos and entertainment content popping up on their screens. 

The lack of concentration and decreased focus during class time or study sessions can affect the grades of the student. Constant notifications and the temptation to check social media feeds can disrupt students' attention and impede their ability to concentrate on academic tasks.

2. Poor time management: Even after having ample time at home, students have excuses to make for not completing their work, homework and assignments on time. The allure of constant social interaction and entertainment on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok can be particularly enticing. what if we implement social media platforms in the classroom then they would avoid prioritising academic commitments and instead focus on socialising with others online.

To address these challenges, educators can provide resources and support for students to identify their priorities, set realistic goals, and create structured schedules that balance their social media usage with their academic commitments.

3. Privacy and security concerns: These platforms are good at creating fake profiles and forums that are mostly untrusted and unreliable. Youngsters and even new users get into the trap of people who are involved in corrupt activities. Therefore, being a drawback of social media, this has tricked many of us. 

Since social media is about sharing your achievements, personal details and day-to-day tasks, it unconsciously puts students into sharing details which must be sensitive to them. Who knows who they are interested in and with? Being a major concern, most of us have noticed that students share the deepest details such as their contact details, photos, or opinions, through their posts, comments, or messages. with strangers but at last get tricked. 

By addressing privacy and security concerns proactively, students should be made aware of the knowledge and tools to protect their privacy online.

4. Contributes to feeling isolated: It is not necessary that everyone you follow or the ones who follow you are friends or make meaningful connections. While social media platforms are designed to facilitate connections and communication, paradoxically, they can also foster a sense of loneliness and isolation for some individuals.

It has been noticed that students and others too get influenced by the lives highlights and accomplishments of others. This leads to feelings of inadequacy or loneliness as individuals compare themselves to others. Moreover, the constant exposure to filtered images and lifestyles on social media creates unrealistic expectations and standards for social comparison.

It is essential for individuals to maintain a healthy balance between their online and offline interactions and seek genuine, meaningful connections to combat the negative effects of social media on their mental and emotional well-being.

5. Misinformation and fake news: Social media serves to be a good source to spread wrong and fake news, this not only creates a source of consuming wrong information amongst students but also thin out their perspective towards various aspects of life. The proliferation of misinformation on social media not only misled the student but also had broader implications for academic achievement and learning outcomes.

For instance, consider a situation where a student comes across a viral post on social media claiming that a certain study technique guarantees straight-A grades without much effort. Intrigued by the promise of academic success, the student decides to adopt this method exclusively, neglecting proven study strategies recommended by educators.
As a result, the student's academic performance begins to suffer, as the unverified study technique fails to yield the promised results. Moreover, the misinformation spreads further as the student shares it with classmates, perpetuating a cycle of false beliefs and ineffective learning strategies within the academic community.

6. Cyberbullying and online harassment: A Perfect way to dilute the mental health of individuals. This is a major concern and a debatable topic amongst folks and social activists these days. Cyberbullying and online harassment are not only confined to elders but have widened their impact on students as well. Who would have thought that bullying could be practised beyond the physical existence of an individual?  Well, Cyberbullying comes in different forms,  including offensive messages, exposing someone’s private information, or even malevolent identity theft.

Further, online harassment can have serious consequences for students, leading to emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. There have been cases where students have even attempted suicide in extremities. Trolling, hate speeches, and targeted attacks are a few examples of online harassment. 

Dolly Everett (2003–2018), age 14, was an Australian teenager who was the face of Akubra, an Australian hat company, at the age of eight. She died by suicide after being cyberbullied, although depression might have also been a contributing factor in her death. Dolly's Law was formed in New South Wales, which enables the criminalization of cyberbullying. (Reference- Wikipedia)

In conclusion, the blog has highlighted several keys to the positive and negative impact of integrating social media in education. While social media platforms offer opportunities for collaboration, communication, and resource sharing, they also present challenges such as distractions, privacy concerns, and misinformation. Just as a coin has two sides, social media also presents both benefits and drawbacks. So you can not resist its impact on daily and academic life. It is crucial for educators, students, and university administrators to carefully consider these benefits and drawbacks before implementing social media in university settings. It is very crucial for students to self realise how to make optimal use of social media so that it does not leverage their efforts on the negative side. By engaging in ongoing dialogue and critical reflection, stakeholders can work together to harness the benefits of social media while mitigating its potential pitfalls. Through thoughtful consideration and strategic implementation, social media can be a valuable tool for enhancing teaching and learning experiences in higher education.

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