This week I did some more research about how social media can affect people’s self image and how we need to teach students to view other people’s online selves critically.The topic is something that really intrigues me and has me asking a lot of questions. In my blog post from last week I talked about the “edited version” we create of ourselves online and how important it is to remember that when looking at what other people post online. This is no easy task as even adults need help recognizing when their social media lives are interfering with their overall health and happiness.
I noticed that many of my classmates are interested in this topic as well and they make some great points. Amy looks at the public image Miley Cyrus portrays and asks if it is possible to live a private life online. Brittany shared an example of how images she posted online were portrayed as “perfect” when she knew that was far from true. However, we can also teach students to use social media as a support system for the real-life struggles they may be facing. They can connect with others who are experiencing the same things as them, and recognize that not everybody’s life is as perfect as it may seem online.
While we need to teach students to view social media with a critical lens and remember that things may not always be as they seem, we also need to teach them how to create a positive and meaningful digital citizenship. Teachers can be role models by modelling their positive digital footprints for students and showing them the good that can come from social media. We can give them the power to do and share amazing things online.
I want to end this post on a positive note- this February Dove started a campaign #speakbeautiful during the Oscar’s to stop negative tweets about body image and encourage positive messages. What a great way to encourage people to post positively online.