Social Media Sharing: A Community Guide

Steward technology experts weigh in on the best ways to approach, monitor children’s social media usage.

What do you think of the concept of a “selfie?” How has it changed the way children place value on their appearance?

Mrs. Karmolinski: I usually introduce the camera tool on the iPad to junior kindergarten and kindergarten students during the first month of school and, in that process, we learn how to turn the camera around on the iPad so it faces the student. I then always ask the class, “What is a selfie?” Almost in unison, they all describe taking a photo of themselves. After these students take a selfie on their iPad, I’m always surprised at the number of five- and six-year-olds who then ask me how to delete the photo, so they can retake it. I expect this of adults but to have students at this age retake a photo over and over until it is perfected is bothersome. If you are a twenty-something, you may feel the need to practice what pose makes you look thinner and how to smile just right, but should you be practicing these skills at age five?

Mrs. Ricketts: Posting selfies on social media can create a loop of constantly checking for external positive reinforcement. Children need to know that the act of clicking a quick response to a post, whether positive or negative, does not involve a deep level of thought. The responses (or lack of responses) received on social media bear little relation to a person’s real value as a human being. Their self-worth is not tied in any way to the number of likes they receive for a selfie they posted.

Mrs. Mayfield: “Selfies” are kind of like the act of looking in a mirror—not only do we inspect our image and find details we like, but we also tend to scrutinize and critique certain aspects of our appearance as well. While a mirror tends to be a moment of singular or self-reflection, a “selfie” can potentially put our image out there for everyone to see for mass-reflection. Just knowing that others might judge us creates a “social sensitivity” that can make us more self-conscious and susceptible to feedback (Shin, Y., Kim, M., Im, C., & Chong, S. C. [2017]. “Selfie and self: The effect of selfies on self-esteem and social sensitivity.” Personality and Individual Differences, 111, 139–145). In Character Education classes, these are the very concepts we are exploring—how our similarities/differences, unique attributes, and experiences all blend together and contribute to both our self-awareness and self-esteem. And, moreover, what are ways that we—as individuals and larger groups—can work to foster self-confidence and mutual respect.

Click on each question below to view responses from our technology experts:

 

 

 

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