Social Media Networks and Teenagers: The Effects of Social Behavior and Scholastic Achievement

Social media networks defined by Senior Net, consist of online tools and websites that encourage users to interact with companies, brands, and other people to form communities by creating, publishing, and sharing content of interest.

The popular social media networking sites are Facebook with over a billion users as reported by a study conducted by Pew; Twitter, the largest microblogging site with over 500 million active users and Instagram, a free mobile photo-sharing program and social network with over 100 million registered users.  There are hundreds of social media networks that people can join that caters to their interest. These social media networking sites have transformed communication techniques across the world allowing people to communicate freely to each other using the Internet.

Dany Koe, social media expert in the commercial real industry agrees that communication technologies are growing. “If you are on Twitter, you are going to have followers that are interested in what you have to say and engage in short conversation with them in real time and that is pretty awesome- verses emailing,” says Koe.

Using social media networks may have positive influences, however, the largest influence is within the teenage population; one factor is  how they communicate with each other.  “I feel like the younger generation can’t really talk face to face since they rely on the lag that communicating online has which gives them time to think ,” says Koe.

Below is an audio interview with Bianca Rainwater, Digital Strategist in Washington, D.C. speaking on the technicalities of social networking and how social media may be conducive to teenagers if used properly.
Audio Interview:

 

Through a survey conducted here on my website as well as distributed throughout my social media networks, I polled a variety of users between the ages of 18 – 50 on how they feel social networking sites have affected teenagers learning behavior.  More than 50% of the responses came from the age group of 23-29.

Infographic #1 of results.

Social media networks and social behavior

In a recent survey conducted on a group of students’ ages 14-16 at Crim High School in Atlanta Georgia, 62% said they know someone who has been bullied on social media networks. From that same group, 23% had been bullied through a social network.  In a situation dealing with cyber bullying, Samenna W., a home school student now for two years says before she was home schooled, she participated in cyber bullying that lead to an altercation at school.

Samenna was in 8th grade when she recalled her altercation that started on a social media network. “I initiated the cyber bullying with another girl through a Facebook status; and hinted towards fighting,” says Samenna. “Later on at school, we actually fought and it all came back on me because of my status.”  Samenna learned from her altercation that she shouldn’t post everything that first comes to mind and really think about what your post say and who it could possibly hurt.

Below is a chart on the results from the survey conducted on a group of teenagers in the Atlanta Public School system on the use of social networks.

Infographic #2 of results.

 

Courtney Stevens uses mobile phone to utilize Twitter app on iPhone daily news updates, friend statuses and other communication needs. (Photo Credit by Deniscia Scott)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parental involvement

Miriam James Jones, personal trainer and parent was a little iffy at the first thought of her 15-year old son using Facebook. “I wasn’t excited about it at first; he just recently created an account over the summer,” says Jones about her son. “I sent him a friend request on Facebook and of course he tried to act like he didn’t see it for a couple of days but I told him it is going to be my way of monitoring his activity,” says Jones. She also had a couple of her friends to add him as a friend on the network as well.  “He even went to the extreme measure of making himself invisible (on Facebook) so that I couldn’t see his page and I told him that he needed to fix that or he was coming off of all social networks,” says Jones.

Some advice Jones gives to parents who have teenagers using social media networks is to remain connected and intolerable of certain things. “Teenagers don’t have the right to freely express themselves on the social networks or say whatever they are thinking at that moment – so as a parent you have to set boundaries for your teen and if they don’t have any, they can get completely out of control and possibly ruin their little reputation,” says Jones.

 

Social media and scholastic

Below is an infographic on the results from the survey conducted on a group of teenagers in the Atlanta Public School system on how they feel social networks have affected their writing.

Infographic #2 of results. 

A major conflict with social media networks and teenagers is the language that is used on these sites. The grammar as well as the language that is used is a major problem within the teenage community. Jamiliah M., college student and avid social media user also noticed the incorrect grammar and misspelled words that some of her peers use on the networks. “I think social media networks have affected students in terms of their writing skills because on Facebook and Twitter we talk very socially and it is victual and we abbreviate things and sometimes without thinking you can do that in the classroom,” says Jamiliah.

Jamilah Middlebrooks checks her Facebook page for group updates and status. “I log onto Facebook at least once a day, to see what is new in the groups or with friends that have moved to other cities,” says Middlebrooks. (Photo credit Deniscia Scott)

 

 
However, in the survey responses at Crim Open Campus High, students were asked if they noticed a difference in their writing skills since using social networks and 38% said yes while it was tied at 31% at being no or little to no difference.

 

 

 

In the video below Tiffani Whitehead, teacher at Crim Open Campus High, feels differently to her students’ responses about social networks affecting her students writing skills. On the other hand, Dashunda Gates, teacher at E.L. Connelly talks about the positive sides of using social media networks with her students and how she uses it to inspire her with ideas for the classroom.

Tiffani Whitehead, Reading Specialist at Crim Open Campus High school sitting behind her desk. (Photo credit Deniscia Scott)

 

 

 

Below is the video about teachers and social networks.

 

 

 

Dashunda Gates, fourth grade teacher at E.L. Connelly sits behind her desk. (Photo credit: Deniscia Scott)

The Twitter connection board in Ms. Gates class. (Photo credit Deniscia Scott)

Final thought

Teenagers and social media networks have a correlation that is between parental supervision and education. The more parental monitoring that occurs with a teen and their social networking usage also determines how they use it. This also goes for the grammar and language aspect of social media networks, if a parent, teacher or even a peer said something about it, it could possibly be controlled on the other end.

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