Students discuss social media use


Credit: Whitney Halperin

Above is a student typing on a computer. WSPN looked at the different aspects of students’ social media use. “It’s a good way for people to communicate and share ideas. I like Facebook because it makes it easier to contact people, and people post a lot of news, so it helps you get in the know of what’s going on in the world,” sophomore Emily Chen said.

Thomas Chan and Nandita Subbiah

It’s 11 p.m. He flips the textbook to the next page and starts on the next problem. A foot away from him, he hears a chime. He reaches over, unlocks his phone, and a familiar light glows on his face. After what seems like a few minutes, he looks back at the clock. Thirty minutes have passed.

It’s all too familiar a feeling for many WHS students. The use of social media has grown in the past few years, and now almost every high school student uses some form.

Senior Gabi Ragazzi believes that social media is often distracting.

“When you’re supposed to be doing something productive, it’s always there lingering, and it’s just like ‘Open me’ or ‘Click on me,’” she said.

Freshman Olivia Harvey agrees with her.

“Social media can cut into your schoolwork,” Harvey said.

Despite some students claiming social media is distracting, technology specialist Mary Barber feels that social media use should be allowed during school hours.

“I think there is no problem [with students using social media during school hours] as long as it’s not during in-class time,” Barber said.

Students use social media for a multitude of reasons, including viewing what others are doing, staying updated on current events and keeping in touch with friends and family.

Certain platforms are used for different purposes. One such platform is Facebook.

“It’s a good way for people to communicate and share ideas. I like Facebook because it makes it easier to contact people, and people post a lot of news, so it helps you get in the know of what’s going on in the world,” sophomore Emily Chen said.

Ragazzi agrees with Chen. She also pointed out social media’s role on national issues and Facebook’s page feature. This feature allows an organization to have its own site, where Facebook users can ‘like’ and follow it to show their support and receive the organization’s statuses in their News Feed.

“For causes, it can open up conversation for a lot of things and shine a light on many issues. For all the things that go on in the world, social media is the mediator,” Ragazzi said. “For Ferguson and everything happening in Syria, social media allows people to be informed and speak their minds about what’s going on in the world. In a way, it has [helped] people to care more about these things and form their own opinions.”

Not only does Facebook allow people to talk to friends, but it also plays a role in student extracurriculars. Facebook has a feature for groups, where users can post exclusively to a set of people and create private events.

Senior Evyenia Coufos is the president of the Green Thumb Club. The club has its own Facebook group in which they post meeting times. According to Coufos, the platform is a good tool for staying organized.

Another benefit of social media is how it aids in communication. Freshman Olivia Harvey uses Facebook to “stay in touch with long distance friends.” However, she said that social media also provides an opportunity for bullying.

“People on the Internet are not in a face-to-face situation, which could be intimidating, whereas online, nothing stops them from hitting send; saying hurtful things just takes a few clicks and a tap on ‘send’,” Harvey said.

Barber believes the school has taken steps to curtail bullying on social media during school hours.

“The reason that Facebook is blocked is because of the CIPA [Children’s Internet Protection Act] law where we have to protect students’ privacy as well as protecting students so that they are not bullied during school time,” Barber said.

Another common issue is the false image social media allows users to project. Ragazzi said that people can get “obsessed” with social media and want to create an “image that just isn’t true.”

“I think it’s a way for people to make themselves feel better. You want to post good pictures of yourself and you want people to think you’re cool and do cool things,” Ragazzi said.

Coufos had similar thoughts on the issue of social media image.

“Personally, I don’t like it because it makes me compare my life to other people’s lives and how it makes me feel about myself,” Coufos said.