Parents. who have tried to pry their teenager’s smartphone away at bedtime know that social media can ravage the emotional lives of young people. Children and teens who use social media heavily are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, sleep poorly and express concerns about their body image. As a high school history teacher, I’ve observed how social media create digital distractions in class, since I’m never sure whether students are typing notes on their laptops or updating their Facebook status.
These concerns have led some school officials to ban students from using social networking sites at school. Although the bans are well intentioned, they actually inhibit, rather than promote, educational growth. Despite their potential for misuse, social media tools can also enhance teaching and provide unique learning opportunities for students.