Your teens may be working and studying at home, but that doesn’t mean that they are using their phones just to learn. Yes, your middle and high school children are on social media. Even if you have some restrictions for your children when it comes to social media use, chances are high they’ve been exposed to it. Some have probably even established private accounts you don’t know about. Although there are some drawbacks to social media, there are also benefits when it comes to connecting and learning online. Why not use social media for good during this time of remote and distance learning? Channel the positive aspects of social media and harness the benefits of social media for remote learning for your teens.
Benefits of Social Media for Remote Learning
Okay, don’t freak out. There really are many benefits of social media for remote learning. I know that sounds counter to everything we’ve been taught as parents. However, we do need to recognize that social media is part of their lives. Our responsibility is to teach them how to use it wisely and responsibly. Particularly now when our lives are being lived in so many virtual ways.
Here are some benefits of social media for remote learning:
#QuaranReads or #Quaranreading are trending hashtags your teens will find on popular social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Authors, teachers, and students are encouraging others to discuss books they are reading in a digital book club format with quick tweets and visual “Book Snaps”. Popular young adult authors like Laurie Halse Anderson are sharing their favorite #Quaranreads. Other authors are recording themselves reading chapters from their popular books aloud. This allows students to have access to audio versions of books during remote learning time.
One #Quaranread for your teens include on their to-read list is ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas (the follow-up to THE HATE U GIVE). The book follows a 16-year-old female rapper and her story of trying to make it in a tough world.
Another read your teens can pre-order is THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES by Suzanne Collins, the prequel to the popular HUNGER GAMES books. (Personally, I can’t wait for this one to come out so I can read it too. I smell a movie prequel in the works!)
One more #quaranread for your teen readers is now a major motion picture (viewable online). FIVE FEET APART by Rachael Lippincot has a familiar feel during this time. The protagonists have to stay five feet apart from each other because of the life-threatening illness and the need for a lung transplant.
Without connection to social media and hashtags like #quaranread, they may not learn about all these cool books their peers are reading right now. So maybe there are some benefits of social media for remote learning after all.
Create a Positive Digital Footprint
When your young adults are home learning, you can help them create an online image that colleges and future employers will want to see. Let’s face it. When our kids apply for colleges or jobs, they will be Googled and their social media platforms will be scoured. Start by helping them set up a digital footprint where they are sharing their public persona, positive character traits, and career interests.
Not having an online presence is nearly impossible in the 21st century. However, having a strong, appropriate digital footprint starts early. Teach your kids to THINK before they share. The THINK acronym is one that we share with our girls. Just think: Is it True, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessary, and is it Kind? By asking those simple questions before posting, your teen will have a social media persona that will impress anyone.
First, model your own positive digital footprint on your social media platforms by sharing your best, real self and spreading kind, positive messages. When your teen sees how you use social media to create your own high-quality digital footprint, they will be more likely to do the same.
Find a New Hobby
During remote learning, we’re quickly finding our virtual event schedules filling up! How can that be with so many public places closed? Well, many businesses and teachers are sharing lessons online. For students of all ages, in fact, should you care to take a class or two yourself.
There are art teachers instructing on painting and drawing, and sign language instructional sessions. In addition, there are more instrumental lessons than you can count! Simply have your student or you search Facebook events for virtual lessons in your area or nationwide. Start by checking out Facebook pages for local museums and studios in your area.
Our local art museum conducted a virtual event last week that was loads of fun. Sitting at home, we learned some art history as well as how art can be interpreted through nature and flowers. There are dozens of events in our city similar to this one, and open to participants from all over the world.
This is one of the benefits of social media for remote learning – it has no borders.
Connect with Friends and Family
Since social distancing is requiring your teen to stay away from some friends and family members, social media can provide a needed social connection. Snapchatting with friends or using Facebook messenger to chat with relatives can help your teen have that socialization they crave and need during this time. It’s also important for relatives to know that you and your family are safe – and vice versa. Plus it’s great for everyone’s mental health to “see” each other online.
Get Some Exercise
Another popular trend during social distancing is online fitness classes. Yoga, Aerobics and Zumba instructors are promoting free or donation only classes on social media. In addition, physical education teachers are sharing their lessons online for school-age kids. Your teen may even pick up some new moves via TikTok. (Ours sure have. Daily.) One of the most important things during this time of remote learning is to not get stuck inside on the couch. Encourage your child to get up and get moving with fitness classes available online.
Teens Need the Connection that Social Media Provides
As illustrated above, there are more than a few benefits of social media for remote learning.
Social media isn’t just about gossip and silly memes. During this time of social distancing, help your teen stay connected, learn, and get moving by focusing on the benefits of social media for distance learning. Just stay involved, pay attention, and focus on keeping your kids safe online. Oh, and maybe join in for a few interesting sessions. You never know what you might learn!