Week 3 – Social networking site Facebook

Is Facebook good or bad?

This I will be discussing both the positives and negatives of the social networking site Facebook. I have personally been the victim of cyber bullying and online abuse, a terrible experience that I would wish upon nobody. On the flip side, Facebook has also brought me closer to friends and family, both locally and internationally, whom I would have lost contact with. Facebook also allows me to get advice from other users, it assists me in event management, keeps me informed about new products, helps me to promote my husbands band and keeps my photographs ‘safe’.  Facebook is also really easy and fun to use, however, it has also been a source of procrastination and boredom throughout my education.

I have chosen to concentrate on Facebook’s negatives and positives. The article Is Facebook Making Us Antisocial (2013) highlights the real life friendships that are destroyed by the nature of Facebook, conversely, the article also discusses lost friendships, which have been reunited by Facebook. Joseph Grenny discusses the manner in which society presents itself on Facebook in comparison to real life and the negative effect its having on people’s lives. Another major issue highlighted in the article is the prevalence of online bullying and cyber abuse, which is occurring everyday. This issue is affecting people all around the world and has created division within communities (Grenny, 2013).

On the up side,  Facebook is incredibly helpful. For example, online study or social groups such as the one I have joined for some of my units have helped me tremendously, not only to gain insight academically, but to connect with people from my course. This type of social networking can be fun, useful and can help to create new friendships.

Social media can be abused by some and its effects are widespread and witnessed by many. The issue of online abuse can be avoided by using appropriate language and online communication skills, which can help to avoid conflict and save heartbreak.

The Facebook site has its positives of bringing old friends, new friends and family together or keeping in touch (Grenny, 2013). Another great thing about Facebook is, it allows users to become or create groups which have a similar interest or hobbies. Another positive is that we can use social networking as an effective tool in our classrooms to motivate and engage students; though we must be careful in both our planning and implementation of such tools, by avoiding explicit and inappropriate content as well as ensuring that it has direct correlation with the curriculum and learning outcomes for the lesson (Howell, 2012).

Facebook also helps many students connect and learn with each other. Many schools have made a Facebook group page for students to interact and share ideas on education as well as allowing students to work collaboratively on assignments. Another reason to introduce and use social networking websites such as Facebook in a classroom is to encourage and educate students on how to be responsible, use appropriate communication skills as well as effectively enabling students to become more digitally fluent, thereby using social media to the students educational advantage (Howell, 2012).

The major learning theory which relates and explains the way social media can be a useful tool in learning is Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (2014). The social learning theory explains that learning occurs socially through observing others, which allows the observer to develop and obtain information. This theory also explains how individuals imitate what they observe through social interaction, this directly relates to the appropriate usage of Facebook and similar social networking sites, as social networking is influential when used appropriately (Cherry, 2014). To conclude, Facebook can be used for good, it is up to us as educators and role models to ensure students are aware of the possible dangers of Facebook as well as the advantages, disadvantages and misconceptions the site offers.

References

Cherry, K. (2014). Social Learning Theory. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/sociallearning.htm

Grenny, J. (2012). Is Facebook Making Us Antisocial. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/josephgrenny/2013/05/07/is-facebook-making-us-antisocial/

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT :Digital Pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

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