The New Media (TV, Internet, Social Media, Video Games and Mobile Messaging) has done a lot of good to the students and the general community as a whole for which I give below a lot of examples:
It has brought the world closer and all information across the world is shared instantaneously. The recent Mumbai floods are a classic example where people from all the locations kept sharing information about the flooded roads and the roads which were motor able. Lot of Social Organisations sent messages about availability of food and shelter.
A lot of educational messages are being circulated enabling people to be abreast of all latest developments in their sphere of interest.
Messages on medical help required are shared instantaneously. There were cases of blood donors reading such messages and coming out for help.
One need not be worried about not being able to know cooking. A lot of live cookery classes are available off the shelf on the net. One need not be worried about not being able to know something. While I have given the example of cooking, a lot of such information is available.
Google maps are a classic example of the latest technology. I was stranded on the road while driving, to find out an address in a remote location of the city. All I had to do is log on to Google maps and it guided me to the place I wanted to visit. Not only that, the map guided me through the less congested road without getting stuck in the traffic.
I can purchase what I want from the comfort of my home. No need to visit the shops physically.
I will give a live example wherein during the 2015 floods in Chennai, our house was completely cut off from any connectivity or power, etc. we were not able to communicate to our daughter living abroad. Our close family living abroad were worried about our whereabouts. But they chose to pass the message on social media and through some “Connect” there was a social organisation who came to our house with food, etc. They took a video clipping of us and conveyed about our safety to all our relatives living abroad.
While I have listed a few of the good things that I can think off about the influence of social media, I also give a few things which are influence the younger generation in a bad way:
Wrong information and rumours get passed off in a jiffy. Non verified information is passed on without any checks.
Information that the children need not know are also easily passed on through the social media and children get influenced very fast.
People sometimes do not even go to doctors nowadays, they take self medication by going through the websites. This in my opinion is bad. Instead of taking professional advice, they take their own medication.
Movies are parallel released through social media, when the same is released in theatres, which leads to huge loss to the producers.
I need not say anything about the new “blue whale” game which is growing like a “Cancer” thus taking the lives of a lot of youngsters who fall prey to this.
Morphing and sending wrong pictures of women is also growing in alarming proportions. We keep reading a lot of news about the same.
I was dumb struck about information provided by ChildSafeMedia that children watch about 26,000 advertisements every year. This is very alarming and disturbing.
Selfie culture is growing like a weed and I see a lot of negativity than positivity.
With so much of information available at the click of a button in their rooms, the current day child does not go to the play field to play games. Students are stuck in the comfort of AC rooms, while they are expected to be out doors playing live games instead of “virtual games”.
Families have stopped talking with each other at home and all of them are glued to their smart phones and Whatsapp, facebook, etc. This has denied quality time being spent with family.
People even read text messages while walking on the road thus meeting up with accidents.
Privacy is lost due to connectivity. One can be stalked easily by knowing when he or she has last seen her messages, what time is a message read, etc.
While I list out a few good and the bad influence of Social media, it is up to the parents (who move one on one with the child), teachers and good friends to educate the good and bad to each and every student. Instead of teaching them 100% core subjects, time has come to expose the students to moral values, good and bad of social media. I would suggest 30% of teaching time to go into such teaching. With so much of information available on the media, with a little effort put on the students to learn the good things of the social media, the child will be able to learn more subject through the media. Therefore it is upto the elders to spend more quality time with the children instead of they themselves being sucked into the banes of social media.
Teachers should do the following:
Note the behaviour change and falling grades in the students and counsel them accordingly.
Spend more time with students who are less interactive.
Keep the students aware of the ill effects of downloading unwanted apps or games.
Raise awareness on adverse effect of misuse of internet.
Teachers should be friendly with the students and gain heir confidence. There should not be any Student-Teacher barrier.
Parents should do the following:
Control excess use of internet by children.
Explore online world together with the children.
Parents should be updated with the changes and introduction of new internet phenomena.
Ensure children access age-appropriate sites that do not promote violence.
Note unusual changes in mood and lack of interest in studies in child. Sensitise the children on the ill effects of Social media and curb the cancerous growth of wrong information.
Together, the parents, teachers and the society as a whole can mould a child’s future by giving him access to the right things in the society and teaching the ill effects of the same. Let us do our small part in making this world a “Place of Good and Sound Information” and let us shut “Bad Information” from our society.
About the Author:
Ms. Selvi teaches at SRM Nightingale Girls Higher Secondary School, Chennai.