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

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September 27, 2022

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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:

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


Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

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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.


Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

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


Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ app reviews at SmartSocial.com

This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

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 impact of social media. When teaching students how to build healthy screen time habits, it can be helpful to also understand the positive effects of social media.

What students think about social media (video)

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)

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

In this video students answer the following questions about Social Media

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. What social media platforms do you and your friends use?
  2. Will your social media habits change as school starts?
  3. What are some issues you and your friends may face using social media?
  4. Do you think that you and your friends use social media with a positive intention?
  5. What is some advice for other students to use social media positively?
  6. How do you balance screen time and responsibilities?
  7. Does your family use social media?
  8. How can parents help students balance online fun while focusing on priorities?

Student, parent, & educator training (video)

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

Students: Use this worksheet to follow along with the video

(Log in to your Google account and select File-->Make a Copy)

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. Should students shine online?
  2. Three step plan
  3. Step 1: Audit Google results
  4. Step 2: Start a dialogue
  5. Step 3: Shine Online

15 Examples of Positive Social Media (video)

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

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. Virtual communities
  2. Inspirational career options
  3. Learn job skills and civic engagement
  4. Connect with older adults and family members
  5. Learn about science on Snapchat
  6. Learn about physics on Tiktok
  7. Find mentors and explore career paths
  8. Get daily inspiration
  9. Learn and share technical skills
  10. Create an online resume and portfolio

Parent & Educator Content:

Positive Impact 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

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. Tips for students going back to school
  2. Issues students might face with social media
  3. Tips to help students manage social media
  4. Positive apps for students
  5. How to help students build confidence online
  6. How to minimize screen time addiction for students
  7. How to set expectations for social media

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 app 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 online 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)
  • Students can get 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

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 with the SmartSocial Student Branding Academy


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 positive impact of social media on students. 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.

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