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Teachers' Day Contest: Media, A Boon Or A Bane?

The media is the powerful entity in the world. It has the power to make the innocent,guilty and the guilty,innocent. Because it controls the mind of the masses. In this scenario, mobile phones have replaced the human brain not only among adults but amidst children too. We live in an era, where meager confrontations are done through text messages, e-mail and other platforms. Media evaporates a lot of time, energy and makes us absolutely physically inactive, particularly amid children.

The ocean of information available on the web is educational but also a huge gateway to destruction. As the elders of this generation, just as we teach our children how to ride a bike, we need to teach them how to navigate social media and make the right moves that will help them.

“It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.” Any tool can be used for both good and bad, social media has also provided the negative and positive ways for the people. It is all about the usage and getting things done positively by using the power of social media. It is in the hands of the user to utilize its advantage. But willingly or unwillingly it can still have negative impacts on the users. For instance the larger audience of social media are teenagers and children, which leaves them vulnerable to all kinds of information above their maturity.

Values manifest themselves in the web of human interaction and relationships. We clearly see a society in rapid transition, with superstitious beliefs and values being swept away, along with the social codes which supported them. There are, no doubt, several economic, political and sociological factors that contribute to the changing Indian scenario, but the impact of the 'media world' on youth is becoming an important catalyst in the process. Its impact on children may be seen at many levels. “Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division between individuals and groups”. Social media has lot of benefits for the students and teachers. Regardless of your location and education background you can educate yourself, without paying for it.

The main advantage of the social media is that you update yourself from the latest happenings around in the world. Most of the time, Television and print media , these days are biased and do not convey the true message at all times. So social media paves way to get the true information.

Media can also be used for noble causes. For example, to promote an NGO, social welfare activities and donations for the needy people. It also creates awareness and innovates the way people live. Media has helped us discover new and innovative things that can enhance our lives. From farmers to teachers, students to lawyers, every individual of the society can benefit from social media and its undeniable awareness factor.

“All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.” But the addictive part of the social media is very bad and can disturb personal lives as well. Teenagers are the most affected by the addiction of social media. They get involved extensively and are eventually cut off from the society. It can also waste individual time that can be utilized for the purpose of enhancing our lives.

Social Media causes death – Not just by using it, but by following the stunts and other crazy trends that are shared on the internet. Lately, the blue whale challenge which has claimed the innocent lives of teenagers across the world.

Health wise, the excess usage of social media can also have a negative impact . Since exercise is the key to lose weight, most people get lazy because of the excessive use of social networking sites. Which in result brings disorder in routine life. This research, by discovery, will shock you by showing how bad your health can be affected by the use of the social media. As with the real world, the Internet has its seamy side and it's all too easy for kids to stray into it.

At Home: It is the primary responsibility of parents to see that children's access to media is regulated and monitored. Parents need to be aware of the impact television and other media has on their child, and see that the exposure is only in measured doses that he or she is capable of absorbing without sustaining psychological alteration. More specifically, parents could do the following:

  • Promote selective viewing of television programmes; regulate and remain aware of what is watched; discourage channel surfing and using television as a 'filler.'

  • Encourage active viewing of selected programmes as a family, accompanied or followed by discussions and critical appraisal.

  • Encourage a variety of interests and alternatives to television, such as storytelling, reading books, art and craft, playing indoor games, outdoor sports, visiting people, family conversations, attentive observations during nature walks or a city stroll.

As a teacher, I communicate with my students through Whatsapp, the rapport has never been better. Words can build bridges between individuals and within families, social groups and people. Communicating means sharing, and sharing demands listening and acceptance.

Schools could do the following:

  • In schools, the power of specific media may also be harnessed in a more constructive manner. In developing their curriculum and modes of instruction, schools need to include the media-environment as an object of critical study, while also using recorded audio-visual programmes and other modern media as a means of communicating subject matter in a vivid manner to create undivided attention among students.

  • Allot one period per week for a documentary movie on famous personalities and how they overcame their failures, which motivate the students to travel towards their goal.

  • Develop a course in 'media education' which aims to create an active understanding of the workings of various media and provides critical tools that would help students discern the 'underlying messages' they are subjected to in different kinds of media products (such as advertisements, rock music, teen magazines etc.)

  • Identify suitable ,good, quality programmes on television and help parents and children to make prudent choices of what to view, encouraging the use of television in a measured and worthwhile manner. Also caution parents and children about programmes that are clearly unsuitable for students.

  • Create libraries of good films and programmes that have learning potential and are relevant to children. Use these programmes consciously for active learning of subject matter or exposure to human and global issues, and, as far as possible, not as mere entertainment.

Unless we begin to beneficial measures, at home and at school, our children will remain vulnerable to being swept along by a tide of images and subliminal messages that they have little control over.

Now, where do we draw the line?

  • Establish an age limit.

  • Talk to your kids about the consequences.

  • Keep all gadgets in a common room.

  • Set guidelines and rules.

  • Check your child’s privacy settings periodically.

The purpose of being a doctor is healing; it cannot be money or popularity. Being a mother is nurturing and bringing up the child to realize his /her potential; it cannot be mother’s own self-gratification and social security. Similarly, the purpose of being a teacher is imparting knowledge and cultivating character, it cannot be merely career or social status and they have the vital purpose of leading people towards their wellbeing and working selflessly to establish their lives.

Let children be deeply rooted in values and it is our important duty to explicitly articulate their purpose in life in their daily decisions and activities. As teachers let us raise a harmonized purpose filled generation to focus on their mission and vision to face all hardships and be fruitful in the days to come. The information students get from social media is not a substitute for academic discipline at all.

About the Author:

Mrs. Immaculate Charles: I have been in Holy Angels' since 1999 and I teach Chemistry for Higher Secondary Classes. My passion is to instill good values and refine character among students. Being a mother of two teenagers, I go through the same mundane problems every parent faces.With special wisdom and guidance, I handle my kids to make them a better citizen in life.

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