How do we use social media for good?
After reading Michael Tan’s column “Idiot box” (Opinion, 7/21/17), I pondered yet again on a recurring question in my head: How strongly does or can mass media affect a child’s emotional, behavioral, mental and social growth?
It then led me to reminisce on my childhood in the late 1980s to the early 1990s, when precable TV was the main source of entertainment for us kids then. My nostalgia-tripping is also triggered whenever I chance upon any show from those years on my favorite local cable channel Jeepney TV, which airs
ABS-CBN programs from years and decades past, bringing back some memories from that stage of my life. Honestly, perhaps due to a lack of introspection, I cannot really determine how much of my TV-viewing habits before shaped the person that I’ve become today. It may have, but to what extent, I’m not sure.
But what I acknowledge as many others do is that at present, kids, amidst their need to focus on their studies, are greatly glued not just to television but also (maybe even more) to social media.
I have to admit that at times, I envy (immaturely) today’s kids over the fact that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., are available to them now, adding fun and excitement to their young lives, and not to my generation years ago.
But for the most part, my sensible (and supposedly mature) self is glad that we did not have all these back then, as they could have most likely distracted us from studying and put ourselves (and others) in trouble, which is happening now to many young people who, quite sadly, use social media irresponsibly.
There is no escaping the world’s realities and, as a teacher, I’m trying to find ways to integrate social media in my teaching of English. But of course, I make it a point to still have my students read the selections in their textbooks and other books.
I also regularly give them sit-down writing exercises so that they develop independent thinking and creative (original) writing. In doing so, I hope that they learn to believe in their abilities, develop patience (which is part of the writing process), and appreciate the concept of originality … and uphold it! It’s one way to counter the lazy and dishonest act of copy-pasting stuff from the internet and passing it off as one’s own work.
This brings me to something else that bums me out about social media: fake news! Its prevalence makes me feel obligated to also teach students how to be more critical and how to distinguish between factual news and fake news. How should I do it? I’m still figuring that out, too.
Social media’s impact on us all can be overwhelming, and it helps one to get by in life by recognizing this. Finding a way to utilize social media and other technological advances is, for me, preferable to keeping them away from the youth, who will just find ways to access them anyway. Along with and amidst all this, guiding and instilling in children good values are must-dos so that they become conscientious and responsible people. Like, YEEEAAH!
CLAUDE LUCAS C. DESPABILADERAS, firstname.lastname@example.org
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