Nowadays, digital rules. But how healthy is it for young teens?
With ongoing allegations that social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are posing more harm than good for the mental health of young girls, schools are finding ways to help students manage. In Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Middle Steam School is working toward helping students build healthier behaviors with students and social media.
8th-grade student Abby Chanzu is part of their Digital Citizenship curriculum and says social media is hard to live without, because most social interactions are centered around Tik Tok, Instagram, and Snapchat.
She’s not alone. A lot of teens are tethered to their phones to connect and socialize.
Shannon Comisar, is the STEAM Curriculum Integration Coordinator, who works with students closely on how to better navigate the digital space.
“It’s their world it’s what they know,” said Comisar. “They’re social beings. And so it’s so important here at Brooklyn Middle Steam School that we help guide these students to know how to have some balance. I think that’s kind of like the big word is balance here and how to navigate social media. How to have a presence out there that is going to set you up for the real world.”
Comisar says it’s an innovative, digital world we live in so finding ways to manage it at a young age will make a difference.
“We want them to be out on social media. We all are. I love social media. That’s where I get a lot of my inspiration and resources and we want students to do the same. It’s just teaching them how to do that in the world to be successful in the real world,” said Comisar.
Social Media Class teaches Balance
Students attend class weekly to learn about all kind of ways to create a positive digital footprint and to know more about misinformation, cyber bullying, and the disease of comparison.
Library Media Specialist Janelle Bernards encourages students to get outside and to do as much stuff in real life to counterbalance what is happening on their digital tools.
“Spending a lot of time in a digital world can skew reality a little bit, so the perception of what a teenager has of that world is not necessarily going to reflect the reality and that can be really confusing,” said Bernards. “It can really be harmful, in some cases, if a child for example, their self image like if think they have to look a certain way. And they’re very susceptible to those kinds of influences at this age.”
Bernards also emphasizes knowing limits.
“Students have to learn that boundaries are there to protect them.,” said Bernards. “Boundaries are there to keep them safe.”
Bernards says it’s an age of discovery where students learn not all things in life are always meant to be shared on social.
Students, like Abby Chanzu, are catching on.
“Things spread really fast, like people catch onto that that’s another reason why we should be careful, because a lot of things that can be said can be spread rather fast and details can be lost through that,” said Chanzu.
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