Do Teens have an Unhealthy Addiction to Social Media?

There is no lack of information that supports that exposure to social media can have negative effects on adolescents. A quick Google search will list articles and studies that say social media can lead to:

  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Lack of social skills
  • Bullying
  • Low self esteem
  • Academic failure
  • Lack of attention span

And the list goes on…

Although it may be fashionable to blame the media for our societal problems, we must take a look at the other side of the coin; is social media really so evil?

There are definite positive aspects to social media for teenagers. I have witnessed with the teens in my family that there is increased discussion and literacy skills built through social media. In the day of instant news, teens are often online discussing hot topics such as current events, news and sports. Having access to social media can definitely help teenagers develop awareness.

Adolescence can be a socially awkward time, teens are able to work on their social skills via social media. Although they are often criticized for being less social than previous generations, I would beg to differ. Many teens are learning to reach out to others with similar interest, maintain online friendships with old friends who have moved away or someone they met on a trip, and they are finding their voice and learning to ask questions online and make comments on posts of interest. With group chat options via Messenger, teens are often making plans and being more efficient in their time by communicating ideas and plans to a group rather than calling each individual.

Social media can offer inspiration. If you have a new found interest, it is quite easy to join groups or follow pages to learn more about the things that you are passionate about. Teens now more than ever are being creative and sharing their art, music, writing and photography skills with the world.

As stated in the Pew Research Center, Facebook Instagram and Snapchat are among the most used mediums of social media by teenagers.

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Social media is not going away any time soon. As adults it is our job to teach our children how to use it responsibly. Often, our teens are already more versed in how to use the various platforms responsibly.

What are the positive ways that you have seen teenagers use social media? Join the conversation below.

Twitter post:
Is social media really so evil? #confessedsocialmediaaddict

Facebook post:
People may be quick to judge our youth for their social media usage, is social media really so evil? Read more here:

Information or Disinformation in Social Media

As mainstream media continues to lose the public’s trust, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the public to figure out what is real information and what is fake. The problem is two-fold; media corruption and biases as well as general misinformation that is readily available on social media.

I find this particularly prevalent in the health field. Social media has significantly changed how the public can learn about health conditions, medications, treatments and health devices. As much as there are benefits to being able to do this kind of research and promote these types of products, there are also huge risks to being misinformed and “internet educated”. The FDA issued Draft Guidances for Industry on Social Media and Internet Communications About Medical Products: Designed with Patients in Mind as a measure of protection. You can read about it further here: FDA US Food and Drug Administration

Another main area we see this is in politics. During the last Federal election it was astonishing to see all of the blog posts and memes posted and shared on social media that were incorrect and harmful to the campaigns of the candidates.

In a Globe and Mail article entitled: What is ‘fake news,’ and how can you spot it? Try our quiz, they state that, “In a Pew Research Centre Study last month, Americans acknowledged that fake news stories caused “a great deal of confusion” in the election. Most were confident in their ability to spot fake stories, but about one in four acknowledged that they had also shared stories that they knew at the time or discovered later were fake.”

This week, Google announced that they are rolling out a fact-check feature in their search and news results. Now when you search something that has received a review, Google will identify who made the claim and if a third-party organization has found it to be true or false. Google won’t be doing its own fact-checking however, instead they will be relying on other websites like Snopes or Politifacts to verify the statements made by news organizations.

How do you feel about this? Is this something that you feel will be helpful to the general public?

Join the conversation and comment below.

Twitter post:
Fact or Fiction in Social Media #internetdisinformation

Facebook post:
Social Media is a growing source for news. Do you feel that the Google Fact Checker will help you decipher real from fake news on the internet? Read more here:




The Power of Social Media Persuasion

It is doubtful that by now, you haven’t seen Simon Sinek’s rant On Millennials in the Workplace which has been granted YouTube fame with over six million views. For a while, I saw this rant posted daily on many of my friends’ Facebook feeds with captions stating that Sinek’s depiction of an entire generation as “entitled, narcissistic and lazy” was “right on the money”.

What I find shocking is that Sinek can make simple generalizations about an entire generation and gain so much fame without much of his anecdotal remarks being linked to real research and fact. Sinek states:

  • It’s not Millennials’ fault they are entitled, narcissistic and lazy it’s their parents’ fault
  • Getting participation medals as children has ruined their entire self-worth
  • This generation has lower self-esteem than any other
  • Their addiction to instant gratification has caused them to be impatient and incapable of working hard to attain a long term goal
  • They have no real relationships and don’t know how to have proper interactions with people and form deep meaningful relationships
  • Millennials have no coping mechanisms

My favourite generalization is how Sinek relates the dopamine released by being engaged in social media to alcoholism. Is this guy for real?

Alternatively, you may find Mark Hill’s rebuttal This Millennial Rant Deserves A Trophy For Being Most Wrong to Sinek’s video an interesting perspective and total destruction of Sinek’s demeaning depiction of Millennials as well as how he belittles the real issues that Millennials are faced with. Hill writes: “Well thanks, Simon. Now where’s your pithy solution to the fact that salaries are going down while the cost of health care and education and housing is going up? What bold leadership solutions will help the fact that 40 percent of America’s unemployed are millennials? Social media addiction can be a problem, sure, but that’s like saying the biggest problem on the Titanic was that the food was too salty. Millennials aren’t stressed out because their Facebook posts aren’t getting enough likes; they’re stressed out because the economy is shaky and society’s reaction is “Stop texting so much and learn to love life, you self-centered kids!”

What’s interesting to note is that Hill backs up his statements with facts as you will note in the many live links in his blog whereas Sinek is hailed as an “expert” despite lacking the qualifications and having done the research to back up his statements.

Now, more than ever, we must scrutinize all the “information” that we come across and remember to consider these types of videos and blogs more as opinion pieces rather than gospel.  Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to share factual information to the masses quickly but it can also be a dangerous tool and have negative effects if not properly scrutinized.

The one thing that is obvious is that both Sinek and Hill do a great job in engaging the audience and help elicit a lot of opinion from their viewers.

What’s do you think about the authors’ views on Millennials? Do you agree with Sinek, Hill or both?

Twitter post:
How to label an entire generation in 15 minutes #millennialsmisunderstood

Facebook post:
Social Media is a powerful tool of persuasion. Do you feel Millenials are entitled and narcissitic or just misunderstood? Read more here:


How I United a Community via Social Media

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On September 26th, 2017 my community received shocking news that 29 schools in our area were slated for closure due to a change in provincial funding for vacant pupil spaces. Action had to be taken immediately, there was tremendous information to share and the need to recruit volunteers to come up with strategies to help save our schools. Below you will find a list of Social Media tools that we used to help unite people from across the province of Ontario in a matter of days.

Gone are the days where we had to write letters, get them photocopied and mail them out and wait for a response. Gone are the days where we needed to make phone calls and leave messages and play endless telephone tag since people have different schedules. We live in the time of here and now. When we have news to share, we can do it immediately via social media and that information can been seen by millions of people from around the world. Recently, due to the unfortunate circumstance of my local school being slated for closure, I found myself being at the head of a six month campaign to not only fight for my school but help others do the same for their own communities.

Here are the top 10 strategies that I used via Facebook to link a community in a matter of days:

1. Create Facebook page and post relevant information Save RO Secondary
2. Invite friends and contacts affected by the cause to follow the page
3. Boost the page
4. Create a hashtag that could be used throughout the campaign    #SaveSouthStormontSchools
5. Use images along with text to bring attention to the various posts
6. Create Facebook events for upcoming meetings and fundraising events
7. Invite friends and relevant contacts to attend those events
8. Boost events
9. Follow similar pages of local schools faced with the same issue so that ideas and strategies can be shared
10. Become part of groups that are championing for change in funding for the entire province Ontario Alliance Against School Closures

How did doing these 10 things benefit our campaign you ask?

• Within the first month we had over 700 followers
• A brand for our campaign was created and maintained throughout
• We were able to ensure that correct information was shared to our community
• The public was engaged and asking questions and making comments
• Other communities were united and shared resources
• Events were well attended and fundraising was successful
• Media started to follow our cause and requests for interviews flowed
• Media articles were easily shared province wide

Social media is called “An Organizational Game Changer” by Ruth McCambridge, Editor and Chief for the Nonprofit Quarterly. Social Media as an Organizational Game Changer

Communication can be instant and responses can at times be overwhelming. In the beginning of the campaign the messages and comments were difficult to keep up with but having the ability to interact with hundreds of people with one post made it a most valuable tool in our campaign.

Have you ever used Social Media to bring people together for a common cause? Please comment how!

Twitter post:
Need to galvanize a group in a hurry? #PoliticsTransformed Facebook is your Social Media tool of choice!

Facebook post:
Uniting small communities is difficult, but social media helped make it possible in the fight to save schools in Eastern Ontario. Read more here: