My EC&I 832 Major Project Summary

How We Connect: A look at Social Media usage among Saskatchewan Teens

For my major project I looked at how the teens around me on a day to day basis use social media to connect. I was surprisingly impressed with the insight offered on their responses.

I ended up getting 18 teens to complete the survey I created (check out a copy of the survey here). I had originally planned to go back and film some student responses to the questions, but I ran out of time. I did, however, end up discussing a lot of the topics at length with students and I am very grateful for the opportunity that this survey created. I think that the conversations ended up being better than what we would have discussed if they had been talking in front of a camera.

With the survey results I created an infographic with the results. It was my first time creating an infographic and it was a good experience; however, it did take a really long time for me to get the formatting how I wanted it. I may now be in love with infographics as I can see where short, visual summaries of information would be beneficial in the classroom.  I also want to get my students creating them. For both my Health Science 20 and my Bio 30 classes I encouraged them use infographics to summarize their Student-Directed Study projects. I can’t wait to see what they produce in January.

How We Connect

From the surveys I learned that students use social media mostly to keep up with their friends and current news. Most reported checking many of their social media accounts before leaving the house in the morning- many before they even got out of bed. The apps that were most commonly used by the students were Snapchat (by far the most popular), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, iMessage, and YouTube. Before this class I wouldn’t have considered YouTube a form of social media- but after learning more about the personal nature of vlogs that are shared there I can see how YouTube is a social way of sharing media.

One of the most interesting discussions following the surveys surrounded the final question: How much money would it take for you to give up your phone (and all social media accounts) for: -24 hours? -1 week? -Forever?

I didn’t include the results of this question in my infographic because the results on the sheets differed greatly from what I learned in conversation with the same students. Looking at the surveys I was shocked by how little financial compensation they wanted in order to part with their phones and all social media accounts. I appreciated one students’ answers that combined monetary values with additional requests (24 hrs? $20 and a Twinkie; 1 week $100 and a hug).  Several students actually responded None to the amount of money it would take to get them to give them up for 24 hours. In response to this I asked them to give me their phones and I would return them in class the next day. I also offered $20 etc. to the ones that put those amounts. I quickly found out that handing over their devices was a lot harder than they had predicted. I offered that they could pick the time and give it to me for 24 hours- but I still haven’t had any drop off their devices!

There were also some students that readily admitted that it was simply “lots” or “Not enough” to separate them from their devices. “I can’t give it up- I’d lose my Snapchat streaks” made me both laugh and admire the genius nature of Snapchat’s programs in terms of engaging youth to use their programs more and more. I have also heard students in the past talking about how many more snapchats they need to get the next level of emojis. They were actively increasing their use of the app just to get better little images- laughable for someone like me that doesn’t use the program.

I wasn’t surprised by the survey results stating that 15/18 people said that they had never posted something on social media that they had later regretted. I think that the process of this survey lent itself to the answer being no, and that there may be more people that actually have done this.

In closing- I am glad I chose the topic I did as it opened up a lot of great conversations with students. I was impressed with the insight offered (ie. In response to how he thought his relationship with his parents had changed as a result of social media: We are a lot more quiet, we communicate over our phones. We know what’s happening in each others day by seeing it on social media, not my actually telling each other).

If I were to do the survey again I would change up the questions to create better results to share using an infographic. I also thought of a lot of other questions I would have included if I started again and how to change the questions I did have to get better responses.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about how SK youth use social media- it was a great learning experience for me.


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