Back in March of 2020, a high school student was threatened with jail time if she did not take down a social media post. Not only was she threatened with jail time so were her parents, over a post on Instagram. This post consisted of her in a hospital bed, explaining how she was sick with COVID. As a student, she thought it was her right to be able to use her social media accounts to express her frustrations, or to update everyone on how she was doing.
“The girl’s messages caused panic,” said an attorney for the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department. The panic eventually led to a Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and a patrol sergeant confronting the teenager about her post and demanding her to take it down.
However, the teenage girl recently just won the lawsuit against the sheriff and the patrol sergeant.
“Demanding a 16-year-old remove protected speech from her Instagram account is a First Amendment violation,” said the judge.
We live in a time where we must protect even our online presence. This teenage girl thought she was bringing awareness on how real this COVID pandemic is and was faced with a harsh reality. The right to free speech should always be protected when it comes to one’s social media presence.
Technology has given us way more than just a more connected world.
People Are Losing Themselves Every Day To The Internet
On March 26, 2021, a young 28-year old woman left home without her car, keys, wallet, ID, or cell phone. She was found dead, presumably having jumped in front of an Amtrak train after battling with years of depression.
She had 82,000 followers on Instagram and traveled the world as an influencer, a career millions of teens dream of.
This kind of thing happens every day.
We just don’t hear about it because it doesn’t always happen to people who are in the spotlight.
It’s terrifying how dependent our children have become.
We Don’t Know What To Do Without It
Without even realizing it, we as parents have become addicted to our devices. So much that when we lose or misplace them, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
I’ve heard it many times before. I don’t know what I’d do without my phone. And when we do, we feel out of touch—out of sorts. Like we’re missing everything that’s going on in the world.
It’s dangerous really, because we’re giving these inanimate objects complete control over how we function in our daily lives. And it’s only going to get worse.
This is a learned behavior that we’re passing onto our children.
The Power Struggle With Tech Needs To Stop
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But it’s starting to interfere with the way some people parent. And I’ll be the first person to admit it.
I, too, used to hand my phone off to my daughter when she was throwing a temper tantrum because it was easier than actually addressing the reason behind the tantrum. Pure laziness, which is why the millennial generation is earning such a bad reputation.
We need to start being more attentive.
We need to stop letting technology influence our children.
We need to address these issues head on.
Our children are learning that instead of coping with their emotions, they can just tune in to something else and forget the problem altogether. But this is helpful for no one.
Children desperately need to be able to feel, and we need to give them a chance to do so. We’re not helping anybody by letting these moments get swept under the rug.
It’s absolutely the reason we hear more and more parents complain about their kid’s behavior and increase in gaming addictions. But we can’t blame them because we’ve never taught our child how to use tech responsibly because we’re still learning how to do it on our own.
We Have To Find A Balance
It starts with us. The parents. I don’t ever want my daughter to think that anything on a device is more important than her, as I’m sure most parents would agree.
We need to teach our children when it’s OK to use technology and when it’s time to step back, and more importantly, recognizing when and why they need to do so.
Have a conversation with your family about technology and the role that it plays in their lives. This is a great time to explain the pros and cons, and to let everyone voice their opinion. There is no right or wrong, the point is to get everything out in the open before laying down the ground rules.
Set specific times that children can be online. Before dinner is a great place to start because it gives you the quiet time you need to get everything on the table, and it usually doesn’t take more than an hour or so, which is plenty of time for kids to be watching TV or using the Internet. Use the time after dinner to do something together as a family that DOES NOT involve technology. Play a game, read a book, do a craft, take a walk… the possibilities are endless.
Be consistent. I need to start taking my own advice on this one, but it’s pretty much the icing on top of the cake. Once you’ve put your plan in place you must stick to it. Kids need to know that what you say is going to happen is actually going to happen, or else they start to take advantage of it. And that my friend, is a much larger problem with a much longer road to recovery that you DO NOT want to embark on.
Kids will remember the effort whether they like it now or not. In the end, it will help them become a much more enjoyable human being to be around, and they’ll thank you someday.
My 16-year old daughter texted me this morning letting me know she was likely participating in a walk-out from school. This did not surprise me, she’s walked out to join protests before in support of Black Lives Matter and/or in protest of police brutality. She has taken part in a push for her former middle school to change its name (which it did!) and protested a dress code that she viewed as sexist, leading to discussions with school administration on a more equitable dress code. This time when I asked her what for she simply said, “the environment.” I then heard rumblings at work that students from one of our other high schools were all leaving after 2nd period and heading to the capitol building to participate in the International Youth Climate Strike event. So, I googled exactly what that was.
How did I not hear about this prior to this morning? Has my head been in the clouds? Have I been too distracted by work, school, and my flooded basement? How has this world-wide strike been coordinated and the first I hear of it is when my teenager texts me that she is joining it? Granted, I do not use Snapchat or whatever other apps the younger generation are using. I am “old,” so I use Facebook. The Guardian is giving live updates showing strikes, marches, and protests from around the world. There is a float of 16-year-old Nobel peace prize nominee Greta Thunberg in Sweden. There are kids in school uniforms protesting outside of parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. The protests in London took local police by surprise as they headed towards Buckingham Palace and chanted “we want change” in front of the Queen’s residence. You can read the live updates here.
This movement, the way that the strikes were organized, and their central push to create “system change, not climate change” is tied in so well to what Manuel Castells speaks about in his book “Networks of Outrage and Hope.” In this article by Sophie Sleeman she talks about how this social movement is forming via social media and how social movements like this are “redefining political space and challenging the idea that social media platforms are only uncontrollable forces beyond our control.” Instead, she declares, they are being used to change the world.
Students in Ukraine hold signs that say, “Make My Planet Great Again” and “Don’t Burn Our Future.” In Poland, a large polluter, they hold signs that say, “Without plastic it’s fantastic.” In London they went heavy on the signage with some of them questioning why they are being forced to study for a future they will not even have if climate change continues at the rate it currently is.
What is it going to take to get the adults in positions of leadership to act with the urgency our youth is demanding? We cannot take small, incremental steps towards change or continue to act like it is something that can wait for the next decade, the next administration, or the next legislative session to tackle. Scientists around the world agree that we are either at or near a point of no return related to climate change. Some argue that we can no longer stop a 2-degree increase in global warming, and instead argue we need to do everything in our power to mitigate going beyond that. Others are still hoping we can stop it at 1.5 degrees although now that the U.S. has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, as one of the largest consumers in the world, I am not sure how likely that is.
Our youth, our kids, our grand-kids will be the ones who will see and live through the effects of the decisions that we are making right now. Aside from taking on these tips for reducing our own carbon footprint, we need to consider a person’s views on environmental policy when deciding who to vote for, put pressure on elected officials already in office, and vote those out who are not voting in the best interest of this earth’s future. Saving this planet must start with us, our kids are begging us – will we listen?
Last semester in my Information Studies class I was tasked with doing a research paper on something related to information and the way it is changing in the digital age. We had just finished a unit on Wikipedia and so I was curious if there were other platforms like that where ordinary people contribute to something that used to be entirely the purview of experts. I started digging around, googling things I was interested in, and I stumbled upon citizen science. Although I have not yet participated in a project, I have since been in awe of the possibilities this presents.
Before I go too far down the rabbit hole, let me briefly explain what citizen science is. citizen science involves utilizing ordinary citizens in the collection of, and sometimes the analysis of, data for scientific purposes. I will not regurgitate my research paper beyond that, but the potential this creates is vast and then you throw in social media and the potential explodes. Continue reading Should We All Be Scientists?→
Users are able to quickly share opinions about people, places or things; buy/sell/review products and services; upload photographs; post events, find jobs, meet new friends and much more! The use of social media allows teens to:
Quickly communicate & collaborate with others
Learn how to do just about anything, including play a guitar, cooking or anything else you can think of
Meet new friends
Find the best deals on consumer goods & services
Get reviews of products, services or even a restaurant near your present location!
Increase awareness of social, economic and environmental issues
Emotionally or monetarily give back to those in need
Use new technologies to increase skill set
Express ourselves creatively
Teens see the value of social media and also see it as a way to stay up-to-date on trends and express themselves. At the click of a button, they can spread and obtain all kinds of information as well as influence, or be influenced by others.
One such influencer is Jeffree Star (make-up artist, internet celebrity and entrepreneur) has utilized social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to build an empire and has a net worth in excess of $50M.
Jeffree has been active on social media since 2003 and has built a large and loyal audience:
YouTube 12M subscribers
Instagram 11.2M followers
Twitter 3.3M followers
Jeffree has his own brand of cosmetics and is extremely influential in this market. His raw and honest makeup reviews are top-notch and can cause products to fly off the shelf if he likes them.
He is just one example of several social media beauty gurus focusing on fashion, hair and beauty related topics that influence male & female teens to young adults. Teens are being influenced by social media celebrities and then influencing others within their own social network.
Teens spend an average of six to eight hours a day- YES, six to eight hours a day using digital technology. They are becoming less active and more addicted with lower self-esteem, and higher social anxiety.
Studies show that there are many negative effects of social media among teens. As teens become secluded in their bedrooms mindlessly scrolling through posts, they are becoming less social, and more virtual. They are focusing on what people are wearing, how they look, where they are at, and what they are buying. They are starting to become jealous of one another and insecure about themselves.
As we continue to study the effects of social media on teens, there are both pro’s and con’s. Whichever side of the fence you are on, we can all agree that social media is powerful and continues to grow – the key for a healthy teen is monitoring and moderation!
It is Facebook’s mission to “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” says CEO Mark Zuckerberg to The Verge who also shared that a future mission will “develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us”.
World stream advertising states that “76% of Facebook users visited the site daily during 2016, with over 1.6 billion daily visitors, compared to 70% of daily usage in 2015. (Check out 75 fascinating stats about Facebook here.)”. So social media is thriving, but where should the line be drawn for social media addiction? We should each take the time to check our usage. Be accountable for social interaction virtual or otherwise and call out those who are using social media in excess.
I think that social media can make us anti social, we can be together but are interacting more with our phones than each other. So how can we address the addiction to mobile devices and social media?
We can start by being aware! If you notice that you are looking at your phone while someone is talking to you, think about if you are actually listening to what they are saying? Be mindful of the amount of time and attention you are giving to social media and the purpose of it.
Each social site has its own function, and can be used uniquely by each of us. I love using LinkedIn to grow my professional network, I have my current position because of it. I like activities I find on Pinterest, decorating ideas and I even have a bucket list. I also use Pinterest as a portfolio. Instagram for posting fun pictures. I never was much for Twitter.
Everyone is using social media in their own way, it could be for news, to connect to family, for business and more. But when should we consider it excessive? Is there a magic number of hours a day? If you watched 50 YouTube Videos today, are we going to send you to YouTuber’s Anonymous? Probably not but you should work on limiting your use, ask yourself is this productive?
You may not notice you have a problem; but might be surprised if you asked others for honest feedback about your usage. What about mobile? Your phone for all purposes, is it glued to you? Do you feel sick when it dies? How many hours a day are you using your phone in some way?
Monitoring your own use can cause you to notice the over usage in others, including children. We should begin making these changes now. More and more places offer Wi-Fi and cell phone coverage has made it hard to be off the grid. We need to make living in the moment a priority.
Technology can also help us take a break sometimes. Xfinity xFi allows customers to pause connection to their home Wi-Fi. It seems like a great idea. I know that I have trouble disconnecting sometimes. I think about the generations that have come after me that don’t know life without the internet or social media. Let’s work on the problem now and not set them up for failure.
So again remember that we should each take the time to check our usage. Be accountable for social interaction virtual or otherwise and call out those who are using social media in excess.
I have always been slightly skeptical of using social media personally. It seemed to me that everyone gave off a well-manicured façade, where everyone “humble brags” and shares a very specific version of themselves. I have been on Facebook for years as a networking tool, but hadn’t been very interested in Instagram. It didn’t seem like there was anything on Instagram that I couldn’t already do on Facebook. I’m so busy with everything in my life that I hardly needed another distraction.
And yet, here I am, several weeks into using my new Instagram account our social media class at Metro State. I have mixed feelings about my experience so far. On one hand, it’s great to be able to share gorgeous visual snapshots of my life. Using Instagram has made me see the beauty in things both big and small in the world around me. I like having a place where I can share them with people I know.
On the other hand, what concerns me the most about being on Instagram is that everything I do is turned into data and picked apart by marketers and sales people. It’s no secret that Facebook (who owns Instagram) tracks everything we do and is also continually developing new image recognition technology which already learns faces, but will some day learn places, products and more. Everything I share with the world is archived, digitized and saved on a server and put into an algorithm for analysis.
I go back and forth on whether or not this troubles me or not. My initial reaction is to be freaked out that I am being watched and my actions analyzed. It makes me feel like my privacy has been violated and I don’t have control over how it gets used. On the other hand, it’s going to help marketers sell things to me more effectively. If it helps them do their job better, and means I get better recommendations, I’m not totally against that. I guess it concerns me that I don’t have transparency in terms of where it’s going and what’s happening.
Like many people, I’ve been walking around with a heavy heart because of the horrifying suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday. My Facebook news feed has been filled with an endless supply of articles about the attack — breaking updates, recaps, biographies of the victims and opinion pieces. All of this reading has really demonstrated the difference in news storytelling between the more “traditional” news outlets and newer, Millenial-focused publications. The former is still focused on long-form, newspaper-like articles and the latter uses more images, multimedia and information shared in tweet-like tidbits.
Take this article from TheNew York Times. It’s a great piece that both updates the reader on the increased terror levels as well as give a recap of everything that’s happened since the attack occurred. The voice is formal and professional — it definitely feels like a global newspaper. Moreover, the paragraphs are long and the language is fairly academic. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this style, as the Times is often considered the best newspaper in the world.
In contrast, there’s this BuzzFeed article. For one thing, it’s a “developing story” type article, which acts more of a social feed. As updates are created by the editorial team, they’ll get pushed to that link. This is nice, because it can be a one-stop-shop for all info on the attack, including the latest updates. There’s also no need to hunt down a bunch of links. But the different tone and style is what is so different from the Times. Beautiful images, embedded social posts and links fill the page. The paragraphs are short, bite-sized and succinct. There doesn’t seem to be a single wasted word. The language also feels like it’s catered for younger, social media-savvy readers.
In conclusion, I am not trying to make a judgement over which style is “better” — although I do appreciate the highly visual, succinct style of the Buzzfeed article — but rather demonstrate how journalism and storytelling are advancing and changing. The Times is sticking with its tried-and-true style, which originated in their newspaper, while Buzzfeed is taking advantage of digital and social media to its full capacity.
As an older student returning to college after thirty years has been a challenge. Learning how to do and submit class assignments electronically has been a culture shocking experience. Depending on your career prior to returning back to school can make a huge difference in your chances to be a successful student and acquire a degree. I will use my self for an example. Prior to my returning to college i was a furniture mover. I was required to know or use zero social media or electronic communication engines. I did have a Facebook and an E-mail account. These were the extent of my electronic and social media communication experiences. After taking the placement examination i was placed in the classes appropriated from my scores, OK dandy. Where i immediately hit a road block was navigating D2l and understanding the language of the instructions by the instructor. I was clueless and scared to death. But willing to give this college thing a shot.
My first college essay was due in three weeks and I was determined to write it and turn it in on time. My instructor directed us to turn in our essays via Dropbox by a certain date and time. So i work on my essay with vigor and pride. finally I am done and ready to turn in my first essay. I find my professors office but cant find the dam Dropbox. I looked all over for the dam thing but i found nothing. Well i get to class on Monday, paper was due Friday, pissed off because my instructor did not have her Dropbox where i could access it. I approached her stating that i looked for her Dropbox on Friday and could not find it. She looked at me with a huge smile and said “its OK Albert, stay after class and i will show you how to use the Dropbox on D2l”.\
So since that time i have learned how to navigate D2l, write 8 page essays( with supporting references) and even copy/paste, lol. I am 8 credits away from attaining my BA degree in Org Comm. I figured this should be smooth sailing the rest of the way. Well after walking in MDST 485 i realized how smooth was not gonna happen. I don’t know how to Blog, tweet,re tweet or re- Blog. I am hanging on a thread. However i will learn this stuff but for know, Steve Carell says it best for me.