25 Positive Effects of Social Media for Students

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September 26, 2022

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

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Sharon M.

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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.

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Educator Webinar Attendee

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

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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 effects of social media usage. When teaching students how to build healthy screen time practices, it can be helpful to also understand the advantages of good social media habits.

Parent & educator training video

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

In this video:

  1. How self-conscious students can use social media apps to be their true selves online
  2. How teens can use social media to stay rooted in optimism
  3. What are some types of positive videos students are posting?
  4. What “join vs. battle” means
  5. How parents can model online wisdom

How social media can impact future goals

1. Social media can be used to create a positive digital footprint and search results

Josh Ochs headshot
Josh Ochs

Josh Ochs, SmartSocial.com

Since Google results are the new digital resume, it’s important for students to dominate their online presence. Social media can either help or hurt your child’s college and career opportunities. 

When used wisely, social media can become an extension of your student’s resume. Building a positive digital footprint through routine social media use is a great way for students to Shine Online, show their unique personalities, and have ownership over their search results.

Students can use their social media profiles to highlight their school projects, sports, hobbies, volunteer work, or family vacations. When you’re ready, encourage your student to create posts that:

  • Teach people something they are passionate about 
  • Highlight a volunteer experience they had
  • Talk about their achievements in a humble and grateful way, or showcase their talents 

Then,  when a college admissions officer looks them up online they get a positive representation of your student that matches their college and career aspirations.

2. Social media is an outlet for creativity

Jeremy Bake headshot
Jeremy Bake

Jeremy Bake, Heart a Fact

Social media enables students with a platform to share their creativity and their ideas with a neutral audience and get an honest response. The response becomes a guide for them to better shape their skills if they are looking to pursue that skill professionally.

For example, a photographer or videographer starts by posting their shots on Instagram, or a writer sharing samples of their poetry and essays on Tumblr. Many teens and tweens are already making a career out of such ideas. This shows that social media, if used productively, can be a powerful tool for students to highlight their passions and get feedback.

3. Students can meet mentors to help guide their career goals

Ethan Taub headshot
Ethan Taub

Ethan Taub, Founder of Goalry.com

Social media allows students to dip their toes into networking – albeit digitally. Commenting on others' posts on LinkedIn and responding to Tweets can build rapport and relationships in their area of study.

Social media now allows people to get their first foot on that career ladder whilst in education; one step ahead of their peers.

5. Social media can help students feel empowered to teach others

Jordana Hargreaves headshot
Jordana Hargreaves

Jordana Hargreaves, High Speed Training

Teachers should involve their students directly in any lessons about social media, the internet, and safety while using it. So, we suggest that teachers let students get creative and make eye-catching posters or informative guides about social media safety for younger students. 

This way, the learning is 3-fold:

  • The students are learning creative skills through whichever medium they're using to create the safety resource
  • They're learning about the safety aspects of social media by engaging with it and having to translate it for other students
  • They're working collaboratively on a project

6. Students can highlight their positivity and character

Hector Perez headshot
Hector Perez

Hector Perez, Mumablue

Students should take advantage of social media by creating a solid presence in their field of study and creating positive content on social media networks or a personal website.

It's never too early to start creating a strong personal brand. In today's job market, employers are looking at personal profiles, and the best way to catch their attention is to make your professional profiles a great exhibition of your character and professionalism. 

Also, if you want to be an entrepreneur, it's a good idea to use the power of social media to find groups of like-minded individuals or mentors, and join a community online that will be a great ally whenever you start your venture.

7. Social media can motivate students to strive for greatness

Tom DeSpiegelaere headshot
Tom DeSpiegelaere

Tom DeSpiegelaere, Digital Marketing Expert and Founder of Tom Spicky

Social media can be a catalyst for motivating students to believe they can accomplish great things. Following inspirational pages and personalities, such as Goalcast and Jay Shetty, would help instill positive values and great life lessons. Since media is a powerful tool in shaping one’s values and beliefs, engaging with motivational content can teach students how to express gratitude, show kindness, act with respect, and believe in their own potential.

As students encounter pressures and anxieties in their daily lives, just one video or motivational quote can rekindle their self-confidence and maybe even reveal their true desires in life.

Ways social media can help develop skills

8. Develop critical thinking by using social media for school projects

Mary Ann Lowry headshot
Mary Ann Lowry

Mary Ann Lowry, M.Ed,  ADHD Coach

I find the students I work with benefit from direct instruction on using social media to learn more about topics. For example, if they are looking for more information on Italy, they can do a Facebook search to look for people, who live in Italy. There will be Facebook groups, such as “Teens from ____ (a specific city).” Part of learning and building right brain thinking is brainstorming. If we hit a dead end, we keep going until we find an English-speaking group. Students can then ask about geography, hobbies, etc.

Connecting with others through social media is far more entertaining than reading an article. When they do read articles, they make more sense after being introduced to concepts by real-life people. This also helps to develop critical thinking and to develop self-advocacy (asking for help when needed).

9. Social media can help students learn essential job skills

Jonas Sickler headshot
Jonas Sickler

Jonas Sickler, ReputationManagement.com

It can definitely be easy to paint social media as a villain, but there are just as many positive lessons that teens can learn from it.

Social media definitely helps teens learn to take criticism from strangers without being drawn into a digital dogfight. This can be a real challenge for young minds looking to express themselves, and a valuable lesson to learn before getting a job.

Wouldn’t it be nice if what happened on social media stayed on social media? Learning to use social media responsibly will build an essential skill for teens that will stay with them for life. Think twice before you post (or speak), and you’ll avoid embarrassing yourself, and possibly hurting others.

10.  Students can use technology to form study groups

Len Saunders headshot
Len Saunders

Len Saunders, Author

Social media can sometimes be beneficial to students  when it comes to learning. 

For example, when group chats occur students are essentially forming study groups online to share information and assist one another. This also comes in handy when students are absent from school because they can get information from friends who were in school that day. If a lot of notes were given that day, a good friend can simply take a picture of the notes and send it over to the friend who was absent.

As an educator, I have taught parents not to remove technology completely, but to limit it. In some cases, you can make technology an earned activity.

11. Social media provides a platform to showcase technological savvy and creativity

Dimitris Proko headshot
Dimitris Proko

Dimitris Proko, UK Department for Work and Pensions

Teens today live in a revolutionized smartphone era, in which Wi-Fi and social media have become impeccable survival ingredients. Social media is perceived as a formula to “connect” with others, by either sharing their live moments or even making a lifestyle statement. Some of the benefits of social media are:

  • Having a platform to showcase technological savvy and creativity
  • Increased self-confidence by empowering introverts to express their ideas
  • The ability to create lifelong friends
  • Strengthening social awareness and empathy

However, with great social interaction, comes great responsibility.

12. Social media can bring students together to collaborate on class projects

Dylan Myatt headshot
Dylan Myatt

Dylan Myatt, Advice Media

For teenagers, it can feel like social media gets a bad rap because it's easy to blame all the variables that many people don't completely understand.

Social media makes it a lot easier for students to help each other out in hard classes, such as making a group on Facebook or in Snapchat and then making time to meet up or asking people how to do specific problems. 

That social collaboration can bring students closer to their peers while helping them do better in class.

Social media can help increase social/world awareness

13. Social media increases impact and knowledge of world events

Israel Gaudette headshot
Israel Gaudette

Israel Gaudette, Founder, Link Tracker Pro

Social media can be a vehicle for doing good. Giving every teen a chance of making an impact in the community is very crucial. And with the use of social media, that impact is just one click away. It exposes them to essential issues not only in their community but all over the world as well. And with it, more teens are now empowered to help and support people all over the world even just if it’s miles away from them.

More than ever, teens’ voices are now heard often because of social media. It keeps them informed just like adults. They can freely follow organizations that they believe in. With it, they’ll never feel like an outcast and will always feel that they’re part of something.

14. Students can leverage social media to promote their civic engagement

Kevin Howley headshot
Kevin Howley

Kevin Howley, PhD, DePauw University

Young people can leverage their interest in social media to promote learning, creative self expression, and civic engagement. Students can be socially connected with a world of ideas and a world of possibilities. They can make productive use of these tools to conduct research, reach out to experts, and ask questions. 

These tools also permit all of us to express ourselves, share our work, and get feedback and encouragement. Social media promotes active citizenship.

15. Students can utilize social media to spread social awareness and kindness

Jason Perkins headshot
Jason Perkins

Jason Perkins, San Diego SEO and Online Marketing Inc.

There are good things to look forward to that will shape your kids. Here are some of the positive effects of social media on tweens:

It allows them to spread social awareness and kindness. One of the reasons why teenagers spend time on social media is so they can search for new information on people, explore new ideas, express themselves the way they want to, and connect with others all over the world. Social media can be a great platform for them to start campaigning for their rights and the rights of other people.

Teens also have the opportunity to learn new things through social media platforms. Additionally, they can get feedback from the work that they produce, like school projects, art projects, etc. It gives them a safe space to get unsolicited advice from other people, which they can use to eventually better their skills.

Social media helps students enhance their confidence and creativity. By definition, social media refers to the online services that allow users to connect with one another and share content. These platforms encourage students to exercise their creative skills in terms of engaging with their friends and their general audience. 

Given that they take up the majority of the users on social media platforms, teenagers create the future of social media.

16. Teens use social media to be part of the conversation

Sophia Nomicos headshot
Sophia Nomicos

Sophia Nomicos, Founder, Mas & Pas Limited

In the past, many teenagers have been disinterested in current affairs and the goings-on of the world of ‘grown-ups’. With the rise of social media, everyone is able to learn and share their views, insights, thoughts, and feelings about what’s going on around them. This is also done through more entertaining and engaging forms, like homemade videos, user rants, funny memes, or impactful photographs.

Social media can help teens to connect with the big issues that surround us in today's world. They can see the impact of world events in a more dynamic way than if they were to say just watch the news. This could encourage them to think about and discuss these issues and perhaps even get involved too.

17. Social media is used to combat bullying, body shaming, and more

Mark Coster headshot
Mark Coster

Mark Coster, Owner and Chief Editor, STEM Toy Expert

Parents and educators are already well aware of how kids can develop a negative and distorted self-image through social media. However, more and more positive role models have been popping up. There are successful and widely popular campaigns that combat bullying, mental health issues, body shaming, misogyny, homophobia, racism, cancel culture, as well as many other phenomena that shape and format a teenager’s personal and social identity.

But more than organized campaigns, students can identify with people – their peers who find a voice and speak out loud, as well as positive celebrities. 

Just like in real life, there are negative and positive voices. Since social media thrives on polarization and tends to push users down various rabbit holes, parents and educators have a crucial role to play in helping kids find those positive voices. They should help them realize that the world is not black and white. The key here is to openly discuss both positive and negative aspects of social media themselves, as well as just about any issue they raise.

18. Social media can help young adults find acceptance and groups of like-minded people

Kate Diaz headshot
Kate Diaz

‍Kate Diaz, Co-owner & Writer, Swanky Den

Although cyberbullying is reported every day on social media, parents should recognize that teens can benefit from using social media. One of the positives of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram is that they can provide young adults and teens a sense of acceptance and belonging, especially those who feel marginalized or alone.

These networks can also inspire them to try new things, go for their dreams, share ideas, and even speak up regarding things that matter to them. Bad personalities are rampant online, but there are also positive role models that can motivate them. Students can learn with positive support of personalities that are helpful or harmful to friend or follow.

The key here is to guide your children. Make sure that social media does not take over their life. Set limitations, and when they do pick up their mobile phones and browse their accounts, remind them to use it for good.

19. Social media can provide teens with a voice

Nickia Lowery headshot
Nickia Lowery

Nickia Lowery, Counselor

The adolescent years are a time when children are attempting to master their identities, experiment with self expression, and find their place in society. Social media has allowed teens to develop a voice of advocacy. The ability to see who is following who and the reactions from posts reinforces a sense of belonging. This can be a very positive influence when exposed to the right outlets, especially for teens who do not have a large group of friends.

Social Media Can Help Students Connect with Friends and Family

20. Use social media to connect with family members

Louis Wright headshot
Louis Wright

Louis Wright, Web Designer & Marketeer

Social media can be utilized to improve conversations between family members, especially in their teenage years, as adolescents become increasingly more closed off and secretive in their online activities more and more every year. Teens can use social media to easily communicate with family members, even those they see every day, to share photos and videos with them, and keep in touch using the medium they feel most comfortable communicating with.

Encourage students  to be selective with who they choose to follow. Engage with high-quality and well-rooted accounts such as verified news, climate change solutions, and perhaps even the United Nations accounts that dispense interesting and fun facts every day.

21. Social media can lead to better communication

Lyn Hastings headshot
Lyn Hastings

Lyn Hastings, The Powerline Group

I’ve interviewed multiple moms about this, and despite the negativity that surrounds social media, there were many positive aspects and some encouraging stories. One mom said the constant scrolling lead to better communication about current events with her son. Another mom claimed social media allows introverted kids to safely invite friends to “hang” with less fear of rejection than having to pick up the phone.

Another common positive impact of social media is that it allows students to stay in touch with past and present friends throughout the changes in their lives: school, job, team changes, hospital stays, studying abroad, etc.

22. Younger students can feel empowered by teaching older adults how to use technology

Adam C. Earnheardt headshot
Adam C. Earnheardt

‍Adam C. Earnheardt, Ph.D., Youngstown State University

In meetings with senior citizens, I’ve heard great stories about their grandchildren and social media. What I’ve found is that more teens and tweens are spending time with older family members, not just through social media, but by teaching their grandparents how to set up their accounts to stay connected. 

It’s a wonderful combination of high tech and high touch for both age groups. Teens/tweens feel self-worth by teaching new technology to those much older and wiser, while the older group feels better connected not only to their grandchildren but to people they may not have communicated with in decades.

23. Social media can help build connections with distant family members

Mei Ellis headshot
Mei Ellis

Mei Ellis, Online Optimism

Social media is a tool like any other--how you use it is ultimately up to you, but there is so much potential for forging new connections with students. 

For instance: Social media can bring together students with the same interests, hobbies, and common ground with other creators and thinkers from around the world. By connecting through social media, students with common interests can connect by exchanging ideas, bonding over their shared appreciation for a given work or pastime, and communicating at a more immediate level than has ever been available at any prior point in history. When students have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of social media safety, these social connections can be positive and have a huge impact.

Long-distance communications, whether it's with traveling parents or relatives they rarely see, can be sustained more easily with social media. Using group chats on WhatsApp to virtually reunite families scattered around the world or letting your child video-chat using your Facebook with out-of-town relatives. Social media needn't be the enemy of connection; it is a bridge, not a barrier.

24. Social media helps provide a sense of community

Karen Gross headshot
Karen Gross

Karen Gross, Author and Educator

Students benefit from social media because it provides a way to connect and create community. Indeed, adolescents need social engagement; they need to individuate and social media allows them to do that with a source they feel comfortable using.

We are all aware that social media is not without risks. There can be false information, bullying, and offensive and discriminatory language. But, the point is to enable the tool to be put to its best use now because students want to use it.

25. Virtual communities can help teens feel supported and connected

Kriya Lendzion

Kriya Lendzion, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

When I surveyed my 208 students in the fall of 2020 about what was hardest for them about the current moment, the #1 answer was not being able to have face to face interaction with their friends. There was an obvious correlation between the kids who claimed they were doing better mentally and emotionally, and the ones that were finding ways to connect virtually with their friends through gaming and social media sites.

Even after the pandemic and lockdowns, here are some ways teens can use social media for the positive:

  • Kids who feel really self-conscious and nervous about being their true selves in their school/home settings or who are struggling with depression or social anxiety but don’t know how to talk about it with their families and other friends, can find a particularly strong sense of support from the “safe” anonymity of social media communities.
  • Teens use social media to stay rooted in optimism and inspiration by posting something they’re grateful for daily, inspirational quotes or images and also following hashtags and people that do something similar.
  • Following/posting animal videos are huge at helping them lift out of tough moments.
  • Anything that can be an emotional release and help kids laugh (as long as it’s not unkind) can be  “positive”. This includes dance videos, making & sharing memes and videos (TikTok, IG Reels) that help them laugh at what they are experiencing at the moment
  • I’ve coached some parents to “join vs battle” with their kids re: social media to an extent, and had families make some awesome dance and humor videos with each other on IG/TikTok.

Some of the more socially awkward kids have meaningful connections and feel belonging in ways that they often struggle with in person. I’ve seen their social confidence grow positively from this at times, in ways that they’ve been able to transfer back to in-person relationships.

Conclusion

From creating a more dynamic college resume to building communication skills and feeling a sense of belonging with a peer group, social media creates plenty of positive opportunities for students.

Instead of focusing solely on the negative impact social media can have, try to highlight the ways your student can use social media for good. Whether they showcase their charitable activities, help seniors learn technology, or communicate with family more than they would face-to-face, you can help them find new ways to Shine Online. When you follow the steps above and show your children how social media can have a positive impact, they are less likely to use social media in a negative way.

Additional Resources

Student Branding Academy

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


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