Using Social Media to Participate in a Democracy

The Next Big Focus In The Russia Investigations: Social Media- https://www.ideastream.org/news/the-next-big-focus-in-the-russia-investigations-social-media

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Our world is becoming increasingly more technology driven. While we understand that everyone does not have equal access to the same levels of technology one cannot deny the fact that much of teaching and learning today is driven by technology. Even as I write this article today we are under stay at home orders and are being compelled to practice social distancing in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic. This has caused households around the world to be forced into homeschooling. As I write this article I can hear my wife (My much better half) educating my second grader and my teenager on subjects ranging from Spanish to elementary language arts. In this way we must not fight technology but we must embrace it. We can think about how technology and social media in particular can impact our participation in our democracy and civic engagement. The National Council for the Social Studies has provided information in an article entitled Youth, Social Media and Digital Civic Engagement that students can use social media to effectively be involved in civics. Here some articles that can help explore how social media can be used to effectively practice civic engagement and get more involved in the democratic process.

More Resources on using the Social Media and Civics Engagement
Social Media: Driving or Diminishing Civic Engagement?
Public attitudes toward political engagement on social media
How Social Media has Transformed Politics and Redefined Civic Engagement
Social media increases civic engagement among users

Lesson Plans on Civic Engagement
Digital Literacy and Youth Civic Engagement
Creating Active Citizens: Ideas for Civic Engagement Lessons
Teaching Civic Engagement
Civic Engagement Lesson Plans
Making Civics Real: A Workshop for Teachers

10 Comments

  1. I have been lucky enough to grow up when technology was really advancing and I was able to use computers in elementary school, cell phones in middle school, and iPad in high school. These technologies have made schooling a lot easier and cooler. In our world today, students are using their technology to do school online. On the other hand, I use technology mainly for social media. It’s something for me to do and I really enjoy just going through Tik Tok or Instagram. One thing that it really crazy for me to think is that I get a lot of my news from social media. I usually check Twitter every morning for their highlights and they give multiple articles on a topic. The beauty about this is, you can easily comment on these news sources and a ton of people can see it. I think we should educate our children on how to use social media in a different way than entertainment.

  2. I agree that the world is becoming increasingly more technology driven. We tend to rely on technology for everything in our everyday lives. We use our cars which are a lot different now than when they first came out thanks to technology. We use our phones, computers, and tablets for work, school, taking notes, shopping, communicating, we use them for just about everything. I don’t necessarily consider the use of technology a bad thing however, the way people use technology can be a bad thing. We go to social media and people can be very negative, but it can also be a great way for people to communicate and learn about social situations that are going on in the world. Technology is not going away so we must embrace it and learn from it.

  3. Although some people don’t have the same access to technology as others, it is still continuing to grow beyond what many people would have thought. With it growing so much, it is almost become essential to have some sort of technology available to you, whether than be a smartphone, laptop or home computer. Especially since the pandemic hit, technology has become essential from most people, especially students who are now forced into virtual schooling. With this rise of technology, social media activity is rising. It is important that with that rise in activity, that rise is being used for civic and political engagement as well–doing it in a just and respectful way.

  4. I feel that I can understand all the sides of feelings on technology. I understand with circumstances that virtual everything is ideal. I understand all of that. But to me virtual is just not the same as in person. I feel as though there are things to learn from all of it in many ways. Yes we need to accept it and yes we need to get used to it. But all in all it is just not the same. It is not the solution for life.

  5. While it is absolutely true that not all individuals have the same access to technology in America much less the rest of the world, it is apparent just how integral it has become in our societies. One cannot function in much of societies without your smartphone. It is a calculator, a computer, a means of global communication, and if used correctly an ally in understanding the world around you. Using tools like these to find out simple things in the world can be a tremendous boon. Especially in the modern political climate with so much disinformation floating around, it is imperative that we embrace every educational tool we have and train students going forward to use it properly in defense of their education.

  6. I agree that people shouldn’t be fighting back against the increased presence of social media in our daily lives. While I understand that many people may be wary of social media (especially given how relatively recently it has been introduced into our society), I believe that the benefits of using it outweigh many of the negatives that it brings. Social media also allows the general populace to be much more informed in our political processes like never before, as well as participate in discussions surrounding them.

  7. When I first began college, 4 years ago, I would not have imagined a time where student learning has gone virtual. Technology is a crucial part to today’s society. Using the resources that we have at our fingertips to educate ourselves is beyond important. As a future educator, ensuring that I am providing my students with resources that allow them to educate themselves is something that must be focused on. The resources in this article are a great way for me to start educating myself on different resources that can be used to education the future generations.

  8. Of course not all society has the same amount of access when it comes to technology. The world we have evolved into today almost requires everyone to have access to technology. Yes I agree with the article on how important technology is within today’s society and how we must learn to access it. Democracy can use the internet to get their word out there and to post the things needed to become relevant. I do think this is always going to be unfair due to the kids located within poverty. Some students are not going to have access to technology like others and that’s where a solution to this needs to be funded. Every child no matter the cards they are dealt deserves an equal chance to become successful. Let’s allow technology to change the world for the good… not ruin it.

  9. This article by Dr. Childs about technology was very well said. I feel like we never acknowledge that our world would be lost with technology. But, we also never acknowledge that it does so much harm in our world. I love the personal connection he used in speaking about his wife and children using it for homeschooling. Technology is so abundant now we even use it for learning and jobs! I think it is worth learning about and knowing that other places and people do not have this same opportunity as us. Imagine never being able to use the Internet. This article speaks to racism and classism in several invisible ways as well. We all have different opportunities that define our culture, how we live, and how we are treated.

  10. Social media most certainly can serve as a beneficial tool for civic engagement. As I was not permitted to vote in the 2016 election due to being underage, I have taken the time to ensure I am registered to vote in every election possible(party depending). I, personally, can attest that without social media platforms I likely would not have taken the steps to simply register to vote. The way that technology makes exercising our rights as citizens convenient nearly ensures participation in our democracy as young people.

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