Never mind that, why do adults tweet? I’m an avid member of the Twitterati… and I tend to roll my eyes when I hear people dismissing it as nothing more than a window into the narcissistic lives of celebrities.

 

A recent piece of research by the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) revealed the following benefits for young people of using social media:

 

* making new connections and building community (including the opportunity to create ‘safe spaces’ to engage with others online)

* taking action and creating change

* strengthening existing relationships

* seeking information or entertainment.

 

While these benefits were experienced by young people across the focus groups, some resonated more strongly with participants from specific focus groups.

 

For example:

 

Young people with disabilities described how they built an online community in which they could provide each other with friendship, support, information or advice.

 

The Same Sex Attracted and/or Sex/Gender Diverse (SSASGD) focus group discussed how they used social media to create safe online spaces, in which they could talk about issues relating to their sexuality as well as other topics.

 

Young people who are seeking mental health support discussed how they use social media to gain information, as well as the strategies they used while on social media to protect their privacy and wellbeing.

 

Young people experiencing housing instability told how using social media enabled them to remain connected and in touch with significant people in their lives.

 

The report also highlighted the need for schools and youth services to ensure that staff are up-to-speed with the use of various social media platforms – something I’ve been advocating for a long time.

How many of your staff are active users of social media and genuinely understand it? When was the last time your staff had a session on the best practice of Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr? (and I don’t mean a session where you just heard how bad it is!)

The full report is an interesting read and can be accessed here.

Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. He is the co-developer of Happy Schools and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at@danhaesler