“Ping me!” The first time I heard this from my friend, I was too embarrassed to tell her I didn’t know what that meant. I mean, in context I understood, but I didn’t want to ask her to explain because obviously I was out of the loop on the current lingo. My students communicate in the same ways as when I was seven years old. We talk at school, play together in the neighborhood, and once in a while make a call; albeit the calls today are not from landlines like back in the dark ages when I was a kid. Even as an adult, my students are making video calls to their friends, just like I am. Living abroad increases my use of video conferencing more than my normal, but my students are also international so they are experiencing the same long distances from their extended family and friends.
My thoughts about social media has changed during the recent past. One thing that has changed for me is my understanding about keeping my social media settings private. In the past, I didn’t give privacy settings a second thought; however, through discussion with my son and reading about it from Lara and Sofia in Like. Flirt. Ghost: A Journey Into the Social Media Lives of Teens (Choi, 2016), I have come to understand I should keep my social media accounts private. It’s still not clear to me what bad can come from it but if the cool kids are doing it, then I guess I should too!
Kids today spend more time now than before with friends virtually than face-to-face. With mobile, devices, and gaming technology becoming more affordable and available, more and more children and teens are connecting online with their friends and others. With the new technologies, there are new social norms, new language, and new expectations all around. Adults need to at least be aware of these norms so they can be aware of why the younger generation is poking fun at them on social media. For a funny example, check out Rob Lowe’s Sons Keep Trolling Him On Instagram (Balčiauskas & Laurinavičius, 2019).
In second grade, there isn’t a lot of social media use happening, and for my position as a support teacher, even less. We use Seesaw as a platform for students to post their work to share with parents but there is barely any communicating beyond a comment from parents saying how proud they are of their child’s work.
As the year progressed, I have noticed classmates will now comment on other’s work. “I like your drawing, Junseo!” This is the first year these students have had the opportunity to use a form of social media in school. They have not been told they have to make comments on others’ work but a few have learned from the parents and teachers modeling, it seems. We know the feedback on our work is important and seeing students supporting each other is amazing. I realize I could support these comments better by encouraging students to do this more often. In addition, this example from my lived experience shows me “Social media is a key form of communication, bonding, and friendship among people today.” This is starting at a very young age and traversing several generations. Excuse me, now I should go Facetime my mother.