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Positive Impact of Social Media & Screen Time (What Students, Parents, & Educators Need to Know)

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January 30, 2024

Unlock this lesson to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on social media

This social media app guide will help parents learn: 

  • Why students should be using social media
  • Why parents should care about the positives of social media
  • Tips to keep students safe while using social media

Learn why parents and educators should care about the positives of social media:

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about social media!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Full Replay: How to Use Your Social Media Accounts to Shine Online

May 3, 2024

Parents and Teachers: View the full VIP Facilitation Guide Here

There’s a lot of talk about the negative side of social media, but the positive impact social media can have on a student’s future should not be overlooked. Students can use their social media platforms for good by creating a digital portfolio to shine online. These valuable skills can not only help teens learn to balance their screen time but also create a digital footprint that creates amazing opportunities in the future.

College admission officers and potential employers are looking at students’ online footprints. Teens who learn how to use their social media accounts to highlight their skills, experience, and values will be ahead of their peers.

Educators and parents: Guide your students' reflection and discussion with this student worksheet.(Log in to your Google account and select File-->Make a Copy)

Social Media and Students in the News

Most employers (90%) factor a job candidate’s social media accounts into their hiring decisions, and 79% have rejected a candidate based on their social media content.” - The Manifest

What can students do to create a positive online presence?

Three-Step Social Media Footprint Plan

Step 1: Audit with a Google Search

Other people with similar names will come up even if students aren’t online yet

  • Start with Google in “Incognito Mode” and search your name
  • ~You are still trackable, but this temporarily hides the cookies that websites use to customize results for you
  • Take note of competition for your results - other people with the same or similar name may appear.  These results could be negative and confusing to those searching to confirm your identity (and character)
  • Check monthly for new results
Four ways others will search for you:
  1. First Name + Last Name
  2. “First Name + Last Name” (in quotes)
  3. “First + Last” + City
  4. “First + Last” + School

Step 2: Reflect about YOU

  • Students should consider thinking about what they want others to know about them through their online reputation
  • What are you interested in?
  • What do you want to do with your career?
  • Are there examples of others with similar interests or career goals on social media sites you can follow or get ideas from?
  • How do you want to show your unique interests, creative activities, and career goals online?

Step 3: Shine Online

  • Start building a positive set of Google results
  • Use the various online platforms as a purpose to showcase your interests, goals, and creative skills instead of only as a social pastime
  • Think of your profile, messages, and comments on any social media platform as having the possibility of being fully visible in your Google results
  • Have fun and share your group photos and updates on what you are doing, but think about how every post could be part of your Google results
  • Our favorite social media platforms for creating your own positive Google results to Shine Online are: LinkedIn, Pinterest, X (Twitter), and a personal website/portfolio
  • Even if your name does not show up on the first page of Google, others might show up (or your social media will appear soon)
  • Do the other people who come up under your name have a very positive footprint?  Will they help you get a job/internship/college acceptance?
  • Has everything they have shared been Light, Bright & Polite? If not, we need to start creating positive results for you to reach the top of Google so the other people won’t have negative effects on your future
  • If someone only saw one of the messages or photos in your Google results, would it leave your dream college/employer excited to interview you?

16 Examples of Positive Social Media for Students

Social media can be about more than a student's social life

  • Virtual communities encourage student engagement and help students feel connected to others with their skills and interesting hobbies. Student organizations you participate in at school might have social media groups (NHS, NJHS, FBLA, FFA, high school sports associations, debate teams, etc)
  • Social media enables students to be inspired by career options they didn’t know existed.  You could learn about engineering, zookeeping, education, the military, finance, wind turbine and solar jobs, occupational therapists, and hundreds of other career opportunities through educational videos
  • Learning platform for job skills: getting feedback (and responding positively)
  • Increase our knowledge of different subjects with online courses and distance learning
  • Increase our civic engagement and social awareness - NewsForKids, Teen Kids News
  • Follow positive people online to support mental health

Social media encourages a sense of community

  • Students can teach older adults how to use technology
  • Connect with extended family or immediate family online and continue the conversations when offline and in-person
I'm proud to share that my own grandparents are now confident Zoomers, as evidenced by the fact they were the first ones to show up to the party we had the other night with our extended family.” - Refinery29

Social Media Education for Students

  • Gain knowledge about science with Snapchat (example: Bear Grylls, NASA)
  • Watch educational videos and learn about physics on TikTok (example: @thephysicsgirl, @physicsdude, @stevespangler)
  • Find mentors at your future school and start networking with other students
  • Gather information and explore academic/career paths
  • Get daily inspiration by following inspirational people
  • Learn programming and technical skills for future job opportunities and career exploration through online learning
  • Share your skills with others and use social media to be discovered
  • Create an online resume and portfolio to share positive aspects of your life with the SmartSocial Student Branding Academy

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

Full Replay: How to Use Your Social Media Accounts to Shine Online

Managing a Digital Image (For Students, Parents & Educators)

May 22, 2024

Questions to prompt discussion with students:

Parents and Teachers: View the full Facilitation Guide Here

Elementary School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Good Digital Citizenship
    • What do you think it means to be a good citizen on social media?
  • Who’s Watching?
    • When people post things on social media, they’re often focused on their friends seeing it. Who are some other people that  might be finding your social media posts?
  • Social Media Role Models
    • Who are some positive role models whose social media posts you might follow as good examples of being light, bright, and polite online?

Middle School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Social Media’s Agenda
    • How do you think social media apps encourage people to stay online for hours, overshare, and engage in other behavior that’s probably not in their best interest?
  • Living Your Values
    • If a company you’d love to work for states that they recruit people with a “passion for changing the world,” how could you display that quality on social media?
  • Making an Impression
    • One expert in the video talked about “building your brand” online. How would you describe what that looks like?

High School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Telling Your Story
    • What activities are you interested in, and how can you post about those to showcase your involvement in an authentically positive way?
  • How Posts Can Impact Your Future
    • Can you think of an example of how someone might gain—or lose—an advantage in the college or job market because of things they post online?
  • Loaded Subjects
    • What are some topics you might avoid engaging with online, knowing you can’t fully erase it later on if you have second thoughts about what you posted?

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

Managing a Digital Image (For Students, Parents & Educators)

What is an Online Portfolio? (For Students, Parents & Educators)

May 22, 2024

Questions to prompt discussion with students:

Parents and Teachers: View the full Facilitation Guide Here

Elementary School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Who would you hire?
    • Imagine you’re an employer looking to hire someone new. If you looked through everything they’ve posted online, what kinds of posts would make you want them as an employee?
  • Showing your best self
    • When you’re older and start using social media, what are some things you’re involved with or things about yourself you would want to show in your posts? 
  • Your online reputation
    • What kinds of people might see your social media posts later in life and use it for clues about the kind of person you are? 

Middle School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Creating the right image
    • What are some things to consider when you post on social media, not knowing who might see those posts in the future? 
  • What you want people to know
    • What are some of your best qualities or accomplishments you’re proud of that you could show in social media posts? 
  • Dreams for the future
    • How can the things you post help you achieve your future goals? 

High School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Building an Online Portfoliosome text
    • What are some different platforms and ideas to use in creating an online portfolio? 
  • A case for using social media
    • Even if you don’t really like to be on social media, what are some incentives to use it as a way to promote your best qualities? 
  • Your online footprint
    • If you ran a search for yourself today, what do you think would pop up?

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

What is an Online Portfolio? (For Students, Parents & Educators)

How to Get Fired with One Post (For Students, Parents & Educators)

May 22, 2024

Questions to prompt discussion with students:

Parents and Teachers: View the full Facilitation Guide Here

Elementary School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Critical-Thinking Skills
    • How can you decide if something you want to say is okay to post online?
  • What to Avoid
    • Can you name an example of something you or a friend might post online without thinking about how others might view it?
  • Digital Footprints
    • What kinds of things can you learn about a person based on what they post online?

Middle School Students (dialogue starters):

  • Airing Grievances Online
    • Imagine another student at your school earned a coveted place on the track team and then posted that she hates after-school practices. How might her peers react?  
  • Why Would You Say That?
    • What kinds of posts can you imagine a student your age making that could come back to harm them?
  • Social Media Role Models
    • Who are some people you follow on social media who post good examples of what it means to be light, bright, and polite?

High School Students (dialogue starters):

  • What Was She Thinking?
    • Why do you think the woman mentioned in the video who lost a great job opportunity thought it was okay to post her ambivalence online?
  • What Would You Do?
    • If you were responsible for hiring the woman the host discusses in the video and later found out about her post, what would you do?
  • Posts Never Really Go Away
    • How is it possible for others to see or find out about posts you’ve deleted from social media?

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

How to Get Fired with One Post (For Students, Parents & Educators)

Shine Online - Managing Social Media Expectations as a Family (Video for Parents)

May 23, 2024

Questions to prompt discussion with students:

Parents and Teachers: View the full Facilitation Guide Here

Dialogue Starters:

Parents of Elementary School Students (to ask students)

  • Using words wisely
    • In some ways social media is not that different from conversations you have with your friends at lunch or recess. What are some ways kids can be positive and uplifting in what they say?

Parents of Middle School Students (to ask students)

  • Keeping an open dialogue
    • How do you feel about the expectations we’ve set as a family, and are there any objections or future changes you’d like to talk about? 

Parents of High School Students (to ask students)

  • Digital Citizenship
    • Knowing social media has pros and cons, what are some examples of positive things you’ve seen or posted on apps, and what are some negative examples?

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

Shine Online - Managing Social Media Expectations as a Family (Video for Parents)

Social Media Issues (For Parents & Educators)

May 23, 2024

Questions to prompt discussion with students:

Parents and Teachers: View the full VIP Facilitation Guide Here

Dialogue Starters:

Parents of Elementary School Students (to ask students)

  • Your student and social media
    • (For students on social media) What kinds of things do you like to see on social media, and what are some things that might bother you? 
    • (For students not yet using social media) What do you think would appeal to you about social media when you’re old enough to have your own accounts?

Parents of Middle School Students (to ask students)

  • Keeping drama in check
    • If you’re experiencing drama in your peer group, how can it become worse if it spills over into social media? 

Parents of High School Students (to ask students)

  • Truth vs. Fiction
    • How do you decide if what you see on social media is real or not?

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

Social Media Issues (For Parents & Educators)

How to Use Your Social Media Accounts to Shine Online Event - Spanish Language Version

May 10, 2024

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

How to Use Your Social Media Accounts to Shine Online Event - Spanish Language Version

How to Use Your Social Media Accounts to Shine Online Event - Mandarin Chinese Version

May 10, 2024

Additional Resources

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely.

How to Use Your Social Media Accounts to Shine Online Event - Mandarin Chinese Version

Positive Impact of Social Media & Screen Time (What Students, Parents, & Educators Need to Know)

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The negative effects of social media on teens and tweens can be obvious for parents and educators, but there are seldom discussions about the positive effects of social media and the ability they have to use their social media platforms for good. When teaching students how to build healthy screen time habits, it can be helpful to also understand the positive effects of social media and the ways social media enables teens to support their mental health.

What students think about social media (video)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

What companies are looking for from students (Student, parent, & educator training video)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

Educators and parents: Guide your students' reflection and discussion with this student worksheet. (Log in to your Google account and select File-->Make a Copy)

Will TikTok and Instagram be your future resume? (Student, parent, & educator training video)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

What is Google saying about you to your dream company? (Student, parent, & educator training video)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

Instagram resumes: how to get discovered (Student, parent, & educator training video)

(This student-friendly video can be shown in the classroom or at home)

Positive Effects of Social Media & Screen Time (expert video)

(This parent and educator video is best to be shown to adults)‍

What you’ll learn in this video lesson

Social media and students in the news

90% of employers say social media is important when evaluating a job candidate
Most employers (90%) factor a job candidate’s social media accounts into their hiring decisions, and 79% have rejected a candidate based on their social media content. - The Manifest

What can students do to create a positive online presence?

Three-step plan

Step 1: Audit with a Google Search

Other people with similar names will come up even if students aren’t online yet

  • Start with Google in “Incognito Mode” and search your name
  • You are still trackable, but this temporarily hides the cookies that websites use to customize results for you
  • Other people may come up with the same name or a similar name, or other reasons even if a student isn’t online yet - take note of competition for your results
  • Check on a monthly basis for new results

Four ways others will search for you:

  1. First Name + Last Name
  2. “First Name + Last Name” (in quotes)
  3. “First + Last” + City
  4. “First + Last” + School

Step 2: Reflect about YOU 

Students should consider thinking about what they want others to know about them with their online reputation

  • What are you interested in?
  • What do you want to do with your career?
  • Are there examples of others with those similar interests or career goals on social media sites who you can follow or get ideas from?
  • How do you want to show your unique interests, creative activities, and career goals online?

Step 3:  Shine Online

  • Start building a positive set of Google results
  • Use the various online platforms as a purpose to showcase your interests, goals, and creative skills instead of only as a social pastime
  • Think of your profile and messages in any social media platform as having the possibility of being fully visible in your Google results
  • Have fun and share your group photos and updates on what you are doing, but think about how every post could be part of your Google results
  • Our favorite social media platforms for creating your own positive Google results to Shine Online are: LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and a personal website/portfolio
  • Even if your name does not show up on the first page of Google, others might show up (or your social media will appear soon)
  • Do the other people who come up under your name have a very positive footprint?  Will they help you get a job/internship/college acceptance?
  • Has everything they have shared been Light, Bright & Polite? If not, we need to start creating positive results for you to  reach the top of Google so the other people won’t have negative effects on your future
  • If someone only saw one of the messages or photos in your Google results, would it leave your dream college/career excited to interview you?

15 Examples of Positive Social Media

Social media can be about more than a student's social life

  • Virtual communities encourage student engagement and help students feel connected to others with their skills and interesting hobbies. Student organizations you participate in at school might have social media groups (NHS, NJHS, FBLA, FFA, high school sports associations, debate teams, etc)
  • Social media enables students to be inspired by career options they didn’t know existed.  You could learn about engineering, zoo-keeping, education, the military, finance, wind turbine and solar jobs, occupational therapists, and hundreds of other career opportunities through educational videos
  • Learning platform for job skills: getting feedback (and responding positively)
  • Increase our knowledge of different subjects with online courses and distance learning
  • Increase our civic engagement and social awareness - NewsForKids, Teen Kids News
  • Follow positive people online to support mental health

Social media encourages a sense of community

  • Students can teach older adults how to use technology
  • Connect with extended family or immediate family online and continue the conversations when offline and in-person
I taught my grandparents how to zoom and you can too
I'm proud to share that my own grandparents are now confident Zoomers, as evidenced by the fact they were the first ones to show up to the party we had the other night with our extended family. - Refinery29

Educational development

  • Gain knowledge about science with Snapchat (example: Bear Grylls, NASA)
  • Watch educational videos and learn about physics on TikTok (example: @thephysicsgirl, @physicsdude, @stevespangler
  • Find mentors at your future school and start networking with other students
  • Gather information and explore academic/career paths
  • Get daily inspiration by following inspirational people
  • Learn programming and technical skills for future job opportunities and career exploration through online learning
  • Share your skills for others and use social media to be discovered
  • Create an online resume and portfolio to share positive aspects of your life with the SmartSocial Student Branding Academy

Conclusion

Students have been told time and time again that social media can have a negative impact on their lives, but they rarely hear about the ways that it can benefit them or positively impact their mental health. From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication and online editing skills, social media can create plenty of positive opportunities for students.

While it’s important for parents to talk about the dangers and risks of being online, it’s also important for kids to understand the positives of social media. When kids understand the negatives and positives of social media – and regularly talk to their parents about them – they will be better equipped to use social media wisely. 

Additional Resources

Students are you using this page for your homework and need to cite your source? Use this MLA format:

“Positive Impact of Social Media & Screen Time: What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know.” SmartSocial, 28 September 2022, https://smartsocial.com/post/positive-impact-of-social-media.

Logged in and still not seeing content? This course may not be part of
your membership plan. Click here to join.

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Unlock this lesson to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on social media

This social media app guide will help parents learn: 

  • Why students should be using social media
  • Why parents should care about the positives of social media
  • Tips to keep students safe while using social media

Learn why parents and educators should care about the positives of social media:

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about social media!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

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