How Social Media is Helping & Hindering Our Milennials

In this society, if you do not have social media you may be considered an outcast. Cellphones have been in emergence for almost a decade, but with the constant release of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, young people are spending a significant amount of time on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram allowing them to withdrawal from the world.


With the heavy use of social media amongst the younger generations, there has been a shift in how the milennials retrieve information, interact with their peers, and portray themselves.

Social Media in the Classroom

As technology continues to expand, it has also changed the way educators teach, how students learn and the way teachers and students interact.

University of Illinois junior, Jessica Vargas, says Facebook specifically has truly helped her academic success.

“A lot of my classes formed Facebook group pages where everyone could go on and help each other with homework,practice tests, or getting prepared for the exams,” Vargas said.

But aside from the the obvious social media sites, mobile apps and websites that grades students work, provide lesson plans, and allow students to talk through online forums are truly another effective way many are seeing social media branch out into the educational system. Social media and phone applications have even been proven effective to helping students with Autism. There are several apps that aid with visual discrimination, matching, and pattern recognition for struggling students.

Current Events

As social media has proven to become a popular phenomenon in the classroom, Vargas also talked about some of her African-American studies classes and Sociology classes hold students responsible for staying up-to–date with current events. She says as far as getting her news, she hasn’t sat down and watched the television for years.

“If I ever watch a news story, I watch it on my phone, my computer, or on YouTube,” Vargas says, “I don’t really watch the TV as much as I used to.”

This generation is a generation that strives on fast results. For those reasons,  the increased convenience and widespread availability of technology makes it easy for milennials to switch their focus from the real world to the virtual world.

But for those who may feel differently

But, despite social medias popularity amongst the younger crowd, not everyone is quite a fan.

University of Illinois Media Law Professor, Ben Holden, believes powerpoint lectures and social media use actually promote less learning for students.

“I think if you’re talking to students, and you’re using chalk, and you’re interacting with them face to face in the Socratic method that is superior than having them memorize things through Twitter,” Holden said.

Holden is a firm believe that social media can prove to be a true hindrance in the classroom and on the ability of students to think.

“More time is wasted doing work on the computer then almost any other modern endeavor from modern students,” Holden says. “I think parents often assume the computer equals technology and technology equals learning, when often the computer equals games and mindless ungrammatical communication among friends.”

Furthermore, studies have shown students who do not bring any form of a laptop or cellphone to class to take notes, tend to perform better than those who do. It appears that students who use laptops take notes in a fairly mindless notes fashion, with little analysis. This kind of note taking fails to allow students to truly grasp the material or apply concepts outside the classroom.

Overall,everyone has a different reaction to technologies expansion. Click here to see a student and a professor weigh in on their thoughts.

But outside the classroom, social media can also effect our day-to-day lives

In 2014, we live in a generation of over sharing. Many social media postusers are sure to let the world know of every single occurrence in their day to day lives; from the moment they woke up, the moment they walked into class, or to the moment they’ve gotten into bed to end the day.

But have you ever thought of how social media can hurt you? Due to carelessness on the web, a lot of perpetrators are making it easy for the criminal justice system to gather evidence in a court of law.

Cook County Public Defender, Chastidy Burns, says it can be considered unethical under certain circumstances for an attorney to advise a client to change or remove anything from social media because it could be evidence.

“Sometimes material on social media websites can be considered to be evidence,” Burns says, “For example in a case where the defendant is being accused of gang activity, the State Attorney may subpoena their social website information to see if their are signs of gang activity.”

Once a subpoena has been sent out for a social media page, a public defender cannot advise their client to remove those pictures because that would be considered destroying evidence.

Burns also said although lawyers can use social media to help discover evidence, the Chicago Police can also use it to get leads.

“The Chicago Police Department has a Facebook Page where they post pictures or videos of suspects they’re looking for. Anyone who likes their page is able to see their posts and then send in tips. They currently have 61,000 people who follow the page which really helps,” Burns said.

Social Medias Original Use


Although social media has proven to be resourceful in the courtroom, websites like Facebook were only geared toward college students. For that reason, social media was originally used by police officers to catch students drinking underage.

With apps like Instagram, it is not uncommon for people to post pictures of themselves at parties, with liquor, or even smoking illegal substances.

University of Illinois Junior, Chioma Nkwocha, says social media is an easy trap for young adults to put their future in jeopardy.

“I personally never would post a pic online drinking or smoking because I don’t want to jeopardize my future career goals,” Nkwocha says, “Many people lose job opportunities because they’re young and dumb.”

Patrick Wade, a communications specialist for the University of Illinois Police says police officers usually are more focused on more serious crimes but they still depend on the community to help inform them on any serious underage activity.

“We always tell members of the campus community that they are our eyes and ears on the screen,” Wade says. “We can’t be everywhere at every time as much as we try, so we really need everybody in the community helping us out.”

For a closer look, click here to see how social media aids in criminal investigations.

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