Parents and educators remain concerned about the impact of social media. Those concerns have only increased as students spend more time online.
Problems related to social media include bullying, online predators, and increased risk of depression. But there are also benefits. Social media can help students create and strengthen friendships.
Warning Signs of Violence in Social Media
Students learn the warning signs of violence in our proven prevention programs. Our experts have also identified signs in social media and other online activities. These include:
- Missing out on IRL (in real life) and only socializing online.
- Sharing violent conspiracy theories or desire for societal collapse and chaos.
- Posting antisemitic, sexist, racist or other discriminatory statements, memes or “jokes”.
- Continually turning to non-expert, non-validated online sources for information.
You can download, read and share the full guide, Warning Signs of Violence in Youth Internet Use.
A Student Speaks Out About Social Media
“The problem is that most of what you see on social media is not real,” she noted. “People always put the best of themselves on social media. When we start comparing ourselves, we can often feel inferior. This impacts the development of our identity and self-esteem. Several studies link social media use with depression and lower self-esteem because we believe others are happier and living better lives.”
Lena conducted an informal survey of her classmates. She found:
- 93% of students felt worse about themselves after viewing social media.
- 73% reported time spent on social media could be more productive if used on other activities.
Advice from a Parent and Community Leader
Sharmaine Brown, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jared’s Heart of Success, said her biggest concerns surrounding social media as a parent is cyberbullying and online predators. Another concern is spending so much time on social media that things like homework and chores often go undone.
“My advice to parents is: have that important conversation with your child. Ask them what they’re using and show you the platforms. Become familiar with them and routinely monitor your child’s online activity.”
She stressed parents need to talk with their children about unrealistic images on social media. Sharmaine also shared a reminder that using devices comes with the responsibility of using them properly.
Deeper Dive on the Issues
The National Center for School Safety hosted a series of workshops with Sandy Hook Promise about student mental health. Learn more about how parents and educators can help overcome challenges.
- Pros and Cons of Social Media. A panel that included students and experienced educators discussed the pros and cons of social media, and how to avoid the pitfalls.
- Supporting Student Mental Health During Distance Learning. Educators with decades of classroom experience share their strategies for connecting with students.
- Sustaining School Safety Programs – Educators highlighted cost, sustainability, and capacity as major factors when selecting a safety program for their school district.