If I could convey one important concept to parents about students and social media, it would be to drop that last word -- “media” -- from your mindset. Social media is simply how students today socialize. Yet students are taught that social platforms are only dangerous and adults lecture students on the Don'ts, not the Do's.
In our work with students, we take a different approach, and look at social media through a positive lens, challenging students to use it for good -- to connect with coaches and colleges, meet mentors, and lift up friends in need. In The Social Institute’s recent nationwide survey of 13,000+ students from both independent and public schools, we learned some interesting facts about students’ social media and technology use.
Among the survey’s key findings:
When it comes to how students are navigating social media and technology, schools have an opportunity to lean into positive peer influence to strengthen their culture and students’ character and decision-making. We’re finding that a percentage of students within each school understand how to navigate social media positively, and that understanding strengthens as they progress from 5th to 12th grade. Schools are leveraging that insight to help empower the full student body to make positive, high character choices. For example, 12th graders are mentoring 10th graders, and 6th graders are taking their cues from 8th graders.
Other key student findings include:
The Social Institute also asked students what they wish their parents knew about social media and technology:
Social media is here to stay, thankfully. It can be a force for good in our lives -- a force that unlocks opportunity, inspiration, friendship, and more. New apps will come and go, but what should remain steady and timeless is the positive decision-making that we equip students to have across any social media account or platform they use.