Social Media is a term that is used a lot these days, but do you actually know what it means?
In simple terms, social media platforms are websites or applications for smart phone or smart digital devices that allow its users to post information, interests, photos/videos, idea’s and it also allows you to make social connections all over the world. We are all aware that there are countless different Social Media platforms. When we speak about social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are some of the most common and popular ones that immediately come to mind, where you can “Follow” someone or add them as your “Friend”.
The modern version of “hanging around on the street corner” by children is done online, for the most part on social media. Children, from the comfort and safety of their own homes, can engage with their friends in a digital social environment. Social Media is the most common ways for people, especially children to make social connections all over the world today. It is not unusual that a child would have more “Friends” on their Facebook page or “Followers” on their Instagram account than people they actually know in the “Real World”.
Social media is also a great way for keeping in touch with friends and family who may have immigrated. By simply posing an image or sending private message you can keep up to date with someone on the far side of the world. You can now even video chat with them on Facebook, as if they are in the room beside you.
Social Media is completely reliant on User Generated Content (UGC). Think about Facebook for example, if no one ever posted any images, video’s, news articles, comments….etc then Facebook would probably not exist. Social Media is reliant on its ordinary users to keep it going. Social Media is exciting for children as it can give them the opportunity to connect with famous people, their idols and hero’s like was never possible before.
By uploading an image, posting a comment or status update, the likes of Kim Kardashian could be saying hello to young person all the way from the USA. Rory McIlroy could be “Re-tweeting” something a Follower posted to him. To help to promote a charity event, a post advertising it may be “Shared” by a celebrity thereby gaining a larger audience. Even a famous sports name could “Like” an image that a child publishes of themselves wearing a team’s colours. The opportunity to contact with the famous is now only a single click away.
Never underestimate the power of social media to do good as well; we all remember the ALS “Ice-Bucket” challenge in 2014? This was a Facebook sensation, designed to raise awareness and charitable donations for Motor Neurons charities. Facebook users would pour a bucket of water over themselves, video it and post the video on Facebook where they would then challenge 5 of their friends to do the same while making a donation to the charity. In the USA alone, donations to the ALS association increased from $23.5 million in 2013 to over $115 million in 2014. Never before has the world been at our fingertips, like it is today. But with these great advantages, there unfortunately comes some inevitable dangers.
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