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Benefits of Social Media

You probably see your children using social media daily, especially if they are in middle school or high school. The theory that social media is a waste of time for students is false. Just like any other form of technology, it is all about how you use it and make it work to your advantage. Many children begin using the Internet and social media without understanding how it works or the positive and negative implications of it. It is always important to keep an eye out for what your child is posting or doing online. If used properly, social media can be a huge asset to your child’s future.

An important thing to remember is: Everyone uses social media. There is this notion that millennials are the only ones liking, tweeting, posting, and snapping. In reality, the age at which people are using social media is not limited to one group. Students who start building up their social media outlets in a presentable way have a greater advantage at getting a job than those who are more careless with their social media. Social media has become a way for employers to get a first impression of someone, reach out to them, and even offer them a job. It has become a way for employers to get a very fast perception of you. Because of this, students must make sure they are keeping their social media top notch. Studies have also shown that social networking sites can help students to become more social and even improve learning. In understanding technology, you also begin to understand how things work and how to communicate with others on and offline.

If you are friends with your child on Facebook, then you can see what they are posting. Has your child recently posted something controversial or somewhat inappropriate? If so, catch this early on and stop them at all costs! The saying “what you put online stays online” has never been truer. If your child is using their social media for the wrong reasons it may come back to haunt them later in life when they are applying for their first jobs. What they have posted can actually be the deciding factor for a lot of employers. There are programs now that can find almost anything your child has ever posted. Media has become one of the main ways to socialize. People are using these media platforms to create identities for themselves. Just as you would create your identity in real life, you are creating one online. Your child’s online identity should not be completely different than who they truly are. This gives others a false sense of who they will be potentially hiring or dealing with.

Creating an appropriate online presence is extremely important for students who are in junior high and high school. If used properly, social media can have huge benefits for them. Some of these include networking/gaining connections, social engagement with peers, collaboration in and out of the classroom, creating meaningful content/practicing skills, and getting real world social media marketing experience.

Networking/gaining connections

Social media is all about communication and sharing. It helps you stay connected with people you may not see frequently or have never met. You can establish relationships with people online and translate those into real life. There were many times that someone has come to speak to one of my classes and I followed up by reaching out to them online. From there, we are able to keep in contact and ask each other for help if necessary. LinkedIn is the best media platform for this kind of networking. LinkedIn is an outlet that allows you to create a professional presence. It gives you the ability to post your headshot, work experience, resume, interests, certifications, and many other things. This helps someone to create a brand and also connect with hundreds of others in their field of interest. LinkedIn can link you with someone who can help you reach your career goals. Employers can also reach out to you through direct message. Internships, jobs, and opportunities are constantly posted to LinkedIn, all which relate to the interest specific of the user.You are also able to research jobs you would be interested in. You could reach out to the recruiter asking for job openings or getting more information on the hiring process. This is a media platform that is many times overlooked, but is essential in getting your name into the professional world.

Social engagement with peers

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are three of the most popular social media outlets used today. People constantly engage in conversation online. Twitter is used for communicating short messages to someone very quickly. It is less professional and more creative. Students can share information within a matter of seconds, and because there is a word limit, the message is typically easy to understand. They can engage with one another almost instantly. This platform comes in handy in reaching out to bigger corporations. A tweet is faster than an email, and a lot of big companies have their own twitter. I have tweeted at someone when I have wanted to get more information about something, and in a few hours I received a response. Twitter is fast and effective, but there is also negative content that floats around. It is important to monitor what your child is saying in response to others and what they are tweeting themselves. Instagram is more personal, just like Facebook. These are mostly picture sharing outlets. It is crucial to make sure that your child is posting appropriate pictures and captions. Just because your child’s security is set to private, does not always mean that a certain picture will never be seen by anyone other than those on their friends list. What is posted stays online forever, and can most likely be accessed in the future.

Collaboration in the classroom

It is true that a lot of communication is done online. Students use the Internet to help with research, projects, and presentations. Online platforms can make group work much easier and less stressful. Using programs like Google Docs allows students to collaborate and do their assignments together. It takes out the guessing game of whether someone will complete the assignment or not. If meeting is difficult among a big group, this solves that problem as well. Facebook allows you to message back and forth and opens up lines of communication. One of the biggest struggles students face in groups is a lack of planning or delegation. With social media, a lot of that can be done from the comfort of your laptop.

Creating meaningful content/practicing skills

Practicing writing skills is beneficial for a student of any age. Participation in social media is actually a great way to continuously practice writing. Something that is particularly helpful is having your child create a Blog. Blogs allow students to express themselves, be creative, and get into a habit of writing weekly or even daily. When you are passionate about a topic it is much easier to write about it. Blogs allow students to write about something they have an interest in and to learn to enjoy writing. There are many skills that social media can teach a student. Having an understanding of how to use technology always gives you an advantage for the future. Communication online is also a skill that has to be learned. There are ways to interact online that are different from face-to-face interaction. Anyone could use a brush up on his or her grammar and spelling. These skills are utilized on social media and allow students to be constantly practicing them.

Getting real world social media marketing experience

Every company has a need for a person with technological skills and a basic knowledge of how to work social media sites. By using social media, you begin to learn the ins and outs of it. This allows for a better understanding of the analytics and how to create marketing strategies. There are actual jobs titled social media manager. These positions require someone to control all of the social media and help to increase the company’s presence through it. Learning social media provides a lot of transferable skills.

With the rapid increase of technology in schools, it is important that your child be up to date and mindful of new technology. As a parent, you may see social media in a negative light. One of the most essential things to keep in mind is that social media is not inherently negative. The way that some people choose to use it may be negative. Like anything else, if social media is used for the wrong reasons, it will have an adverse affect. If it is used for the right reasons it can be a huge asset to increasing your child’s online brand and presence for the future. If your child already has a put together and professional Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. they will be able to stand out from their peers when getting ready to search for a job.

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